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Understanding and
Engaging the Muslims of
the Southern Philippines

Diana L. Dunham-Scott

This document was submitted as a dissertation in June 2012 in partial fulfillment


of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee
RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the
dissertation consisted of John Peters (Chair), Dick Hoffmann, and David Kennedy.

PARDEE RAND GRADUATE SCHOOL


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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by RAND Project Air Force, RAND National Defense
Research Institute-Intelligence Policy Center, and the Eugene Rosenfeld Dissertation
Award. I am extremely grateful to the men and women of the Joint Special Operations
Task Force-Philippines who not only answered my many questions, but made me at home
in their camps and included me in their most important events. I owe thanks to the
Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police for their kind
assistance. I am also most grateful that the people of Mindanao were friendly, generous,
and happy to educate me. Finally, I want to thank my committee, John Peters, David
Kennedy and Dick Hoffmann.

iii
Abstract
The 2011 US National Strategy for Counterterrorism maintains the focus of the United
States on pressuring al-Qaida’s core, while emphasizing the need to build foreign
partnerships and capacity. The strategy states that the US is engaged in a broad,
sustained, and integrated campaign together with the concerted efforts of allies, partners,
and multilateral institutions. Beyond al-Qaida, other foreign terrorist organizations
threaten US national security interests. These groups seek to undermine the security and
stability of allied and partner governments. Building strong enduring partnerships based
on common understandings of the threat, the local culture, and common objectives is
essential to every one of the strategy’s overarching counterterrorism objectives, and the
US endeavors to do so in the southern Philippines.

In a remote province of the Southern Philippines, the Joint Special Operations Task
Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) has been working to support US national strategy in a
whole-of-government approach fully partnered with the Government of the Philippines
(GRP). The task force performs security assistance activities and foreign internal defense
(FID) to combat the violent extremist organizations (VEOs) Abu Sayyaf, Jemaah
Islamiyah, Moro Islamic Liberation Front and other groups in the area while working
with USAID and other organizations to improve conditions, governance, and
development in Mindanao.

This dissertation is based on field work conducted in the southern Philippines to explore
and compare how members of the US military, Philippine military and police, and
populace of Mindanao understand Islamic beliefs and values, using anthropological
research methods. This will shed light on the degree to which the task force shares an
understanding of the local culture with its partners and populace and where any
divergence of understanding may lie. This will better enable USG personnel to discern
the cultural implications when engaging Muslim populations in the Southern Philippines
during irregular warfare or security assistance activities and inform capacity-building,
development and diplomatic efforts.

iv
Summary

Understanding and Engaging Muslims in the Philippines


The 2011 US National Strategy for Counterterrorism maintains the focus of the United
States on pressuring al-Qaida’s core, while emphasizing the need to build foreign
partnerships and capacity. The strategy states that the US is engaged in a broad,
sustained, and integrated campaign together with the concerted efforts of allies, partners,
and multilateral institutions. Beyond al-Qaida, other foreign terrorist organizations
threaten US national security interests. These groups seek to undermine the security and
stability of allied and partner governments. Building strong enduring partnerships based
on common understandings of the threat, the local culture, and common objectives is
essential to every one of the strategy’s overarching counterterrorism objectives, and the
US endeavors to do so in the southern Philippines.

In a remote province of the Southern Philippines, the Joint Special Operations Task
Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) has been working to support US national strategy in a
whole-of-government approach fully partnered with the Government of the Philippines
(GRP). The task force performs security assistance activities and foreign internal defense
(FID) to combat the violent extremist organizations (VEOs) Abu Sayyaf, Jemaah
Islamiyah, Moro Islamic Liberation Front and other groups in the area while working
with USAID and other organizations to improve conditions, governance, and
development in Mindanao.

This dissertation is based on field work conducted in the southern Philippines to explore
and compare how members of the US military, Philippine military and police, and
populace of Mindanao understand Islamic beliefs and values, using anthropological
research methods. This will shed light on the degree to which the task force shares an
understanding of the local culture with its partners and populace and where any
divergence of understanding may lie. This will better enable USG personnel to discern
the cultural implications when engaging Muslim populations in the Southern Philippines

v
during irregular warfare or security assistance activities and inform capacity-building,
development and diplomatic efforts.

Cultural domain analysis revealed the richness of perspectives about Muslims in the
research population. The large range and diversity of characteristics that people use to
discuss Muslims and Islam in the Philippines describe a very unfamiliar cultural domain
with a vastly different ethnic context than Iraq or Afghanistan. The analysis suggested
stark differences in point of view between the different stakeholders in the area–local
Muslims view themselves primarily in terms of their tribal/ethnic identity while JSOTF-P
members view Muslims mainly through the lenses of sectarian orientation, religious
extremism/moderation and violence.

Cultural consensus analysis did find that major stakeholders in the Southern Philippines
do not share a common understanding of the culture. This could be an impediment to a
proper intelligence estimate of the situation when planning any kind of operation,
whether a raid, a training event, a community engagement or development project. We
cannot necessarily rely on what our AFP partners tell us; they also lack expertise on the
culture. We have disconnects within and between major stakeholders where we should
have a “three-legged stool.” This disparity in viewpoints is very important for the task
force to be aware of and to manage properly. Conversely, our partners in the military,
law enforcement and community leaders should be aware of how others perceive them.

The good news is that key stakeholders do appear to have a degree of shared
appreciation, or homogeneity of views and high levels of cultural knowledge. There are
culturally knowledgeable members of the JSOTF-P of all ranks and educational levels,
and there is significant concordance with the Muslim respondents. The PNP in
particular, having many members from local communities, has cultural expertise which
we should leverage. This would better enable USG personnel to discern the cultural
implications when engaging Muslim populations in the Southern Philippines during
irregular warfare or security assistance activities and inform capacity-building,
development and diplomatic efforts.

vi
Table of Contents

Acknowledgements ............................................................................................................ iii 


Summary ............................................................................................................................ iv 
Table of Contents .............................................................................................................. vii 
Acronyms ........................................................................................................................... ix 
Chapter 1: Introduction, Policy and Research Questions, and Policy Relevance ............... 1 
Introduction ................................................................................................................. 1 
Policy Question ........................................................................................................... 9 
Dissertation Question .................................................................................................. 9 
Research Phases, Methodologies and Questions ........................................................ 9 
Policy Relevance ....................................................................................................... 11 
Contribution to the Literature ................................................................................... 11 
Chapter 2: Phase I, Cultural Domain Analysis ................................................................ 17 
Exploration: Discover, Describe, Compare ............................................................. 17 
Phase I Sampling Strategy ........................................................................................ 18 
Phase I Data Analysis ............................................................................................... 20 
Thematic Categorization of the Free-list Responses. ............................................... 27 
Thematic Analysis of Interviews .............................................................................. 30 
Themes and Subthemes............................................................................................. 32 
Discussion of Phase I ................................................................................................ 83 
Chapter 3: Phase II, Cultural Consensus Analysis........................................................... 89 
Measurement: Quantifying Shared Knowledge ....................................................... 89 
How Cultural Consensus Models Work ................................................................... 89 
How this Model is Applied ....................................................................................... 92 
Phase II Sampling Strategy: ...................................................................................... 94 
Phase II Data Analysis .............................................................................................. 98 
Principal Components Analysis (PCA) .................................................................. 102 
Phase II Discussion ................................................................................................. 120 
Chapter 4: Discussion and Conclusions......................................................................... 122 
Appendix 1 Human Subjects Protection ......................................................................... 127 
Appendix 2: Milestones and Resources .......................................................................... 128 
Appendix 3 Phase I Interviews Code Book .................................................................... 129 

vii
Appendix 4. Thematic Binning of Free-list Data........................................................... 135 
Appendix 6. Tables of Quotes for Theme and Sub-Themes .......................................... 136 
Appendix 7. Phase II Questionnaire 176 
Appendix 8. JSOTF-P and Muslim Consensus Tables .................................................. 180 
Appendix 10. PCA Tables ............................................................................................. 185 
References ....................................................................................................................... 195 

viii
Acronyms
AFP Armed Forces of the Philippines
ARMM Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao
ASG Abu Sayyaf Group
AQ al-Qa’ida
BIFF Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters
CT Counterterrorism
DOD Department of Defense
COIN Counterinsurgency
FID Foreign Internal Defense
GWOT Global War on Terror
IPB Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield
JI Jemaah Islamiyah
JSOTF-P Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines
MILF Moro Islamic Freedom Front
MISO Military Information Support Operations
MNLF Moro National Liberation Front
PNP Philippine National Police
RP Republic of the Philippines
SC Strategic Communications
USSOCOM United States Special Operations Command
VEO Violent Extremist Group
WESMINCOM Western Mindanao Command (AFP)

ix
Chapter 1: Introduction, Policy and Research Questions, and Policy Relevance

Introduction
For more than a decade, the United States has been in a war to disrupt, defeat, and
dismantle al-Qa’ida and its affiliates. The National Security Strategy (NSS) of the United
States emphasizes our international partners and specifically states that the US must work
with partner nations and engage Muslim communities. The 2011 National Strategy for
Counterterrorism also emphasizes our partners and recognizes the importance of theaters
outside Afghanistan; the strategy:
…maintains our focus on pressuring al-Qa‘ida’s core while emphasizing the need to
build foreign partnerships and capacity and to strengthen our resilience. At the same
time, our strategy augments our focus on confronting the al-Qa‘ida-linked threats that
continue to emerge from beyond its core safehaven in South Asia. Beyond al-Qa‘ida,
other foreign terrorist organizations threaten U.S. national security interests. These
groups seek to undermine the security and stability of allied and partner governments…1

The Philippines is a critical US partner in Asia and has experienced Muslim–separatist


insurgency and jihadist terrorism for decades; US military forces conduct a foreign
internal defense mission to assist the government of the Philippines defeat these threats.
Building strong enduring partnerships based on shared understandings of the threat and
common objectives is essential to every one of the strategy’s overarching
counterterrorism objectives, and the US endeavors to do so in the southern Philippines.

The 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review also echoed the NSS:


…we must expect that for the indefinite future, violent extremist groups, with or without
state sponsorship, will continue to foment instability and challenge U.S. and allied
interests.2

1
National Security Strategy of the United States, the White House, Washington D.C.,
2010, p. 20
http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/rss_viewer/national_security_strategy.pdf
2
Quadrennial Defense Review, United States Department of Defense, February 1, 2010,
http://www.defense.gov/qdr/images/QDR_as_of_12Feb10_1000.pdf
1
The QDR details key objectives with respect to building the security capacity of partner
states; the complexity of unifying many tools of statecraft and working closely with our
partner means that a high degree of cultural understanding is required:

Preventing the rise of threats to U.S. interests requires the integrated use
of diplomacy, development, and defense, along with intelligence, law enforcement, and
economic tools of statecraft to help build the capacity of partners to maintain and
promote stability. Such an approach also requires working closely with our allies and
partners to leverage existing alliances and create conditions to advance common
interests… Operating in partnership with host nation security forces and among local
populations puts a premium on foreign language skills and regional and cultural
knowledge. Today’s operating environment demands a much greater degree of language
and regional expertise requiring years, not weeks, of training and education, as well as a
greater understanding of the factors that drive social change…3

The Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) is operating in this


complex environment in Mindanao and requires an evolving and sophisticated
understanding of the socio-cultural terrain to continue to succeed. Building the capacity
of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP), one
of the task forces’ main efforts, requires a shared understanding of that socio-cultural
terrain and the threat from violent extremism. Hence this research is a multifaceted
effort to understand what it means to be Muslim in the Southern Philippines.

Special Operations Forces in the Philippines:


The US efforts to combat violent extremism in Southeast Asia are not as well known to
the public as the developments in Iraq and Afghanistan occurring up to 2012, and the
story in the Philippines is in stark contrast to those difficult campaigns. In the
Philippines, the entire US effort has been tiny and indirect; the US role is strictly a non-
combat one to train, advise and assist the national forces of the Philippines. The present

3
2010 QDR, p. v
2
circumstances provide a case, so to speak, for the strategic approach to strengthen
partners, engage Muslim communities and use every tool of national power in a
coordinated effort to eradicate extremist networks, eliminate safe-haven and improve
governance.

The government of the Philippines is engaged in counterinsurgency (COIN) against


violent extremists, but the US is not; US forces are conducting foreign internal defense
(FID) under strict and prudent restraints:

Foreign internal defense (FID) is the participation by civilian and military agencies of a
government in any of the action programs taken by another government or other
designated organization, to free and protect its society from subversion, lawlessness,
insurgency, terrorism, and other threats to their security.4

The FID mission is executed by the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines
(JSOTF-P) with approximately 600 men and women and a budget of some $52 million a
year;5 in contrast, the Iraq war cost over $100 billion a year and required more than
180,000 troops at its peak in FY 2008, and the Afghan operations costs about $2 billion a
week and as of December 2011, involve more than 94,000 troops.6 Figure 1 depicts the
Philippines and the remote province of Mindanao, where the JSOTF-P is headquartered
with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command
(WESMINCOM) in the city of Zamboanga.

4
Joint Publication 3-22, Foreign Internal Defense, 12 July 2010,downloaded from the
Joint Electronic Library at
http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/new_pubs/jointpub_operations.htm as of 20 March 2012
5
Max Boot and Richard Bennet, “Treading Softly in the Philippines: Why a low-
intensity counterinsurgency strategy seems to be working there.” The Weekly Standard,
January 5-January 12, 2009, Vol 14, No. 16
6
According to the Brookings Institution statistical summaries; the Iraq index may be
found at http://www.brookings.edu/search.aspx?doQuery=1&q=iraq%20index and the
Afghanistan index at http://www.brookings.edu/foreign-policy/afghanistan-index.aspx as
of 19 Mar 2012.
3
Figure 1. Mindana ao and the Sulu
u Archipelago
o are the homee of Muslim seeparatist insurgencies and
al-Qa’ida affiliated extremist gro
oups. JSOTF--P is headquarrtered in Zam
mboanga. (Maap courtesy
Worlddatlas.com)

The JSOTF-P
J mission is notaable in that itt has succee ded to date w
with a minim
mum cost off
Amerrican lives an
nd treasure while
w preven
nting developpments that could have required a
large-scale militaary intervention.7, 8 The Southern
S Phiilippines hass experienceed a regionall

7
Sev
venteen serviice memberss have lost thheir lives sinnce 2001, of which 14 weere in non-
combbat related acccidents and
d incidents. See
S Jim Michhaels, “Philipppines a moodel for
countterinsurgenccy,” USA To oday, 30 Maarch 2011
8
Per JP 3-22, p. 83,
8 “From an n SOF persp pective, FID efforts are ssuccessful iff they
preclu
ude the needd to deploy large numberrs of US millitary personnnel and equiipment.”
4
separatist Moro (indigenous Muslim) insurgency since the early 1970’s which was
initially led by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). The MNLF negotiated a
peace to gain limited political autonomy for Muslims in Mindanao in 1996, but the
conflict has been continued by a more Islamist-oriented splinter, the Moro Islamic
Liberation Front (MILF). The MILF split from the secular MNLF coincided with global
emergence of other Islamic fundamentalist movements world-wide, and altered the tenor
of the conflict. Pan-Islamic militancy rendered Mindanao into a bastion of Islamist
terrorism in beginning in the 1990’s.9

Abu Nidal and the Palestine Liberation Organization were already funneling money into
the Philippines when Osama bin Ladin built a support network for his operations there.
Al-Qa’ida money directly facilitated the creation of the Abu Sayyaf group; Filipinos with
experience fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan formed the initial cadre. Abu Sayyaf
leaders envisioned a pure Islamic state independent from the Republic of the Philippines,
based on Wahabbist Salafi precepts, and was far more radical than the MNLF or MILF.10
Abu Sayyaf immediately established itself as a significant local terrorist entity with
global jihadist ties, conducting kidnappings, beheadings, bombings, assassinations and
extortion.11

The Philippines were poised to become a major al-Qa’ida safe haven; in the mid-1990s,
top leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his nephew Ramzi Yousef used the island nation
as a planning base for Operation Bojinka, the first (but failed) 9/11-style airliner plot;
they had already perpetrated the 1993 World Trade Center attack.12 Al-Qa’ida ultimately

9
Peter Chalk, “Separatism and Southeast Asia: The Islamic Factor in Southern
Thailand, Mindanao, and Aceh,” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 24:4, 241-269, 2001
10
Peter Chalk, “US Security Assistance to the Philippines: A Success Story Against
Terrorism,” CTC Sentinel, 15 February 2008, Vol 1 Issue 3, Combatting Terrorism
Center at West Point, http:// www.ctc.usma.edu/posts/u-s-security-assistance-to-the-
philippines
11
Andrew Tan, “Armed Muslim Separatist Rebellion in Southeast Asia: persistence,
Prospects, and Implications,” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 23:4, 267-288, 2001
12
Background available on FBI website
http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2008/february/tradebom_02260; Yousef was captured in
Pakistan in 1995 but KSM went on to mastermind 9/11.
5
decided to focus its support operations in the Sudan and then Afghanistan, but the
Philippines continued to be plagued by global jihadism as the al-Qa’ida affiliate Jemaah
Islamiyah (JI) found safe haven in Mindanao and collaborated with Abu Sayyaf and
MILF.

The precipitating event for US involvement in the southern Philippines was the Burnham
kidnapping on the resort island of Palawan, considered relatively safe because it lay 300
miles from Basilan and Sulu, the home islands of Abu Sayyaf. In May 2001, Abu Sayyaf
crossed the Sulu Sea in small open boats to kidnap twenty tourists, including three
Americans, Guillermo Sobrero and Martin and Gracia Burnham, a missionary couple.
US Special Forces deployed to assist in the ongoing operations to find the captives in
early 2002; Mr. Sobrero had been beheaded. Mr. Burnham was shot and killed during
rescue operations conducted by Philippine forces in June 2002, but Mrs. Burnham
survived.13

This small element of Special Forces was invited to remain in the country and eventually
established the JSOTF-P. The FID/indirect approach methodology, nicknamed “By,
With and Through,” was inculcated as relationship building, reinforcing legitimate
institutions, building host-nation security force capabilities, sharing intelligence,
conducting civil-military programs, and promoting local good governance.14

Between 2001 and 2012, most of the key Abu Sayyaf leaders have been killed and
militant strength has been reduced from about 1,200 to less than 400.15 Abu Sayyaf is
said to have devolved into a criminal gang with little ideology remaining16 and is

13
A superb account of the kidnapping by Mark Bowden is “Jihadists in Paradise,” The
Atlantic, March 2007
14
LTC Brian Petit, “OEF Philippines: Thinking COIN, Practicing FID,” Special Warfare,
January-February 2010
15
Armed Forces of the Philippines, “Internal Peace and Security Plan: Bayanihan” copy
obtained by the author from the AFP general staff in Manila in October 2011.
16
This was remarked to the author by several individuals on the JSOTF-P staff, by
members of the Armed Forces Philippines and civilian populace during interviews May-
June 2011.
6
increasingly isolated because MILF has now entered into serious peace talks with Manila
and publicly denounced terrorist tactics. With intelligence support from JSOTF-P,
Philippine forces have also decimated the ranks of JI leaders and key operatives in the
Sulu Archipelago.

In early 2011, the Philippine government announced that sufficient progress had been
made in Mindanao to begin implementation of a new 5-year internal security plan which
would emphasize economic development and prepare the Philippine National Police to
assume responsibility for internal security from the Armed Forces of the Philippines.17
The strategy is designed to finalize a peace accord with MILF and isolate Abu Sayyaf
and JI from internal and foreign support and defeat them.18 The United States will
remain a key enabler during this next 5-year phase; the emphasis on human rights,
governance, security sector reform and economic development will require ever more
nuanced engagement and sophisticated understanding of the human terrain.

In summary, in the global campaign against violent extremist organizations, the U.S.
strategy is to employ a mix of military power, intelligence, law enforcement, diplomacy
and development in direct (e.g., counterterrorism) and indirect (e.g., FID) efforts. These
activities require an understanding of the beliefs and motivations of adversaries and
allies to be successful. Fostering an environment inhospitable to violent extremists and
working with and through local partners requires detailed understanding of all the groups
involved and potentially difficult choices, especially with regard to the motivations of
those who may be supporting violent extremists or very vulnerable to them. These may
include communities regarded as moderate but with specific grievances or political
objectives. The definition of who would be a suitable “local partner” is not provided in
the national security or strategies. This is left to the discernment of the agencies
operating on the ground.

17
Armed Forces of the Philippines, “Internal Peace and Security Plan: Bayanihan”
author obtained paper copy from an AFP officer.
18
The RP is also struggling with a Communist insurgency in the north, but the US is
prohibited from involvement with those operations. The communist insurgency is not
considered in this dissertation.
7
The work of the JSOTF-P, heretofore a successful model for defense cooperation and
support for a nation facing insurgents, terrorists and lawless elements, will be to sustain
that careful discernment and continue a most discreet application of influence and
assistance. The author focuses this study to support the mission of the JSOTF-P.

8
Policy Question
Do security assistance stakeholders share a common understanding of the Muslim
populace in the Southern Philippines?

This dissertation will explore and compare how US Department of Defense (DOD) policy
stakeholders and Muslims in the Southern Philippines understand Islamic beliefs and
values, using qualitative and quantitative anthropological research methods. This will
improve DOD understanding of the culture of our partners and the populace.

Dissertation Question
How can we map the beliefs about Islam and Muslims of stakeholders in the southern
Philippines to better understand the perspectives of our partners and the populace and be
more effective during engagement?

Research Phases, Methodologies and Questions


Mixed-Methods Approach:
The dissertation uses qualitative and quantitative methods commonly used by
anthropologists to investigate beliefs, values, and cultural models (Bernard 2006).
Beliefs refer to what people think the world is like and values refer to their guiding
principles of what is right or moral. Beliefs and values are incorporated into mental
models that individuals hold of how things work; when these mental models are widely
shared, they are called cultural models. (Kempton, Boster et al. 1996)

In Phase I of the research, semi-structured interviews were used to discover the range and
central tendency of beliefs about Muslims and Islam held by JSOTF-P personnel and
members of the Philippine armed forces and local populace in several locations in
Mindanao. Standard qualitative research methods were used to analyze the texts,
describe these beliefs and compare the views of different stakeholders. In Phase II of the
research, the data collected in Phase I was used to create an instrument to measure the
degree to which different groups share understanding of Philippine Muslims, using the
quantitative method of cultural consensus analysis, developed for anthropologists in

9
1986 by A. Kimball Romney et al.(Romney, Weller et al. 1986). Principal components
analysis is used to compare the responses of three key sub-groups—members of JSOTF-
P, Philippine Muslims and Philippine Christians.

If we find that different groups of people hold different cultural models, then we can say
they will likely formulate policies or react to them in very different ways. If we find a
divergence in understanding of Islamic culture in the Philippines between different policy
stakeholders, then policies and communications involving our partners and Muslim
communities may not be as effective as would be hoped.

Phase I: Cultural Domain Analysis


– What is the range and diversity of characteristics that people use to describe
Muslims?
– To what degree do people agree about these characteristics?

Phase II: Cultural Consensus Analysis/Principal Components Analysis


– Do major stakeholders in the Southern Philippines share a common understanding
of the culture? How similar or different are groups from each other?

The purpose of Phase I is to gain an understanding of beliefs about Muslims and Islam in
the region, form preliminary comparisons of the stakeholders, and guide the data
collection for Phase II. In Phase II, respondents’ answers to a questionnaire will be
analyzed to determine whether or not there is cultural consensus—or shared
understanding; patterns of agreement and disagreement will be explored using principal
components analysis. The dissertation will test the hypothesis: that JSOTF-P personnel,
their partners and Philippine Muslims diverge significantly in their conceptions of Islam
and the local culture.

10
Policy Relevance
The research will be useful to the US DOD (specifically, the Joint Special Operations
Task Force-Philippines) and is relevant to the entire 3D (defense, diplomacy and
development) efforts of the US government in Mindanao, in particular:

o Working with partners, leaders and communities of Mindanao during security


cooperation and Foreign Internal Defense (FID) efforts to combat violent
extremism
o Training, advising and assisting the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)
and Philippine National Police (PNP)
o Conducting Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield (IPB)
o Planning strategic communications, Information Operations (IO) and Military
Information Support Operations (MISO) to counter extremist ideology and
diminish the drivers of violence that extremists exploit
o Identifying Muslim leaders and public intellectuals that are striving to counter
the extremist narrative, promote better governance and support the peace
process
o Working with leaders and communities during humanitarian
assistance/disaster response (HA/DR) efforts

Contribution to the Literature

There is a dearth of current, field-based anthropological literature on the people of


Mindanao. During and after World War II, anthropology made substantial contributions
to the US war efforts, especially in the Pacific where commanders were faced with
cultures that were very alien to them. By the late 1940’s almost half of all professional
anthropologists were employed in some war-related government capacity, but the
contributions of anthropology to military operations essentially disappeared in the early
1950’s (with the notable exception of special operations forces (SOF)). In the years
prior to US involvement in Vietnam, the profession enjoyed tremendous growth in the
academic sector, but during the conflict, controversy over the use of social scientists by

11
the intelligence community contributed to the near-extinction of these collaborations with
the military and intelligence agencies.19 Concurrently, the Army purged nearly
everything to do with irregular warfare or insurgency, and presumably the need for
cultural considerations, with the notable exception of the Special Forces. Special
Operating Forces (SOF) have long specialized in irregular and unconventional warfare,
and have emphasized the need for the force as a whole to complement its lethal capa-
bilities with a soft approach that depended upon effective engagement with a local
population.20

When the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) was appointed as
the supported or lead command for the Global War on Terror (GWOT) in 2005, the U.S.
military shifted its emphasis to irregular warfare. USSOCOM and the SOF have put their
brought an appreciation of the leveraging power cultural competency can bring to the
fight.21 The general purpose forces quickly followed suit with the re-birth of
counterinsurgency doctrine in FM 3-24, Counterinsurgency in 2006; the field manual
emphasizes the role of cultural knowledge and specifically mentions the need for
anthropology in its chapter on intelligence.22,23

After 9/11, and particularly after the insurgency ignited in Iraq in 2004, cultural
intelligence was urgently needed by the military and intelligence communities. The CIA
started recruiting social scientists in 2005 and in 2007 the Army launched the Human
Terrain Teams from a pilot project into a $40 million program to embed four- or five-

19 Erve Chambers, “Applied Anthropology in the Post-Vietnam Era: Anticipations and


Ironies,” Annual Review of Anthropology, 1987, 16: 309-37
20
Special Forces Groups are regionally oriented and house specific cultural knowledge in
each group; 1st Special Forces Group is responsible for East Asia and has provided forces
and leadership to the JSOTF-P since its inception; task force command responsibilities
currently alternate with Navy SEAL officers.
21
Jessica Glicken Turnley, “Cross-Cultural Competence and Small Groups: Why SOF
are the way SOF are.” JSOU Report 11-1, The JSOU Press, MacDill Air Force Base,
Florida 2011
22
Charles R. Morrison, “Converting the Unknown to the Known: Misconceptualizing
Culture,” Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin, January-March 2010, United States
Army TRADOC
23
Field Manual 3-24, Counterinsurgency, United States Army, 2006
12
person groups of scholars — including anthropologists, sociologists and social
psychologists — with all 26 U.S. combat brigades in Iraq and Afghanistan.24,25 Human
Terrain Teams employ social science methodologies, including cultural domain analysis,
but have not to date been deployed to the Philippines; they have operated in support of
United States Central Command (CENTCOM) operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. While
the SOF community has always maintained cultural proficiency in the countries where
they operate, and both SOF and general purpose forces have increasingly included
cultural information in their intelligence assessments post 9/11, these studies are driven
by command imperatives and access to the material is often limited; these materials were
generally not available for this research.

Dangerous security conditions in Mindanao have greatly hampered academic research


and news-gathering, particularly on the islands of Basilan and Jolo; it is extremely
hazardous to perform field research on the peoples and groups of Mindanao, and there is
very limited current information on the tribes.26 According to Rommel C. Banlaoi, there
is still ignorance on the most basic aspects of Abu Sayyaf’s exact origin, ideological
inclination, organizational structure, leadership dynamics, operational capabilities and
recruitment strategies.27 Thomas Kiefer’s ethnographies of the Tausugs in the late
1960’s and early 1970’s remain a benchmark source for understanding the insurgents
today,28 even though ASG emerged much later in 1989-1990. Eduardo Ugarte’s 2008
case studies of ASG’s alliance systems were based on Kiefer’s work and analysis of
current media reporting, but he did not perform field work in the archipelago. Ugarte

24
Ken Stier, “Anthropologists on the Front Lines,” Time US Online, 11 Dec 2007,
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1693592,00.html#ixzz1wyEtY8bM
25
Steve Chill, Lieutenant Colonel USMC (retired), “One of the Eggs in the Joint Force
Basket: HTS in Iraq/Afghanistan and Beyond,”
26
Eduardo F. Ugarte, “The Lost Command of Julhani Jillang: An Alliance from the
Southwestern Philippines,” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 32:4, 303-321, 2009
27
Rommel C. Banlaoi, “TheAbu Sayyaf Group: From Mere Banditry to Genuine
Terrorism,” in Daljit Singh and Lorraine C. Salazar, eds., Southeast Asian Affairs 2006
(Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2006), p. 247.
28
Thomas M. Kiefer, “Institutionalized Friendship and Warfare among the Tausug of
Jolo,” Ethnology, Vol 7 No 3, July 1968

13
argued that the ASG, whose members are primarily Tausugs, still utilize a tribal alliance
system described by Kiefer, although he says there is a “sheer dearth” of primary material
and admits that the nature of ASG’s makeup remains largely unknown.

A 2009 Naval Post Graduate School thesis addressing counterinsurgency operations on


Jolo also cited Thomas Kiefer. Herbert Daniels combined historical perspectives on the
Tausugs and the ASG with analysis of the literature on adolescent males to present
strategies to reduce recruitment by extremists; the author was able to obtain information
from Tausug sources because he was a US Army adviser to the Armed Forces of the
Philippines and therefore was himself armed and able to travel and work accompanied by
armed security. Daniels’ thesis contributes recent information about Tausug culture –
explaining how young Tausugs on Jolo are encouraged to be hot-blooded, adventuresome
and violent, and to readily assist friends and kinsmen needing aid –hence the lure of
joining groups like the ASG. Crime and banditry, provided they are perpetrated outside
the immediate community, confer status on young men and provide excitement; the
ASG’s involvement in so many profitable criminal enterprises makes the organization a
source of income. A key finding is that many Tausugs view themselves as Tausugs first
and last, and not as Filipinos, and in fact hold the central government responsible for the
poor conditions in the archipelago. Young men feel no remorse for their illicit activities
because they are taking from people that they view as responsible for their situation, and
that includes Christians and foreigners.29

The Moro rebellion has been the longest and most persistent in the region since the
1970’s, and Mindanao has a long history of violence. Andrew Tan explains that the
Moros first resisted the Spaniards, who arrived in 1565, and were never subdued; they
subsequently resisted the hand-over to the US after the Spanish-American War in 1898.
The US crushed resistance with a brutal campaign to pacify Mindanao.30 Colonel

29
Herbert A. Daniels, “No Child Left Behind: COIN Strategies To Deny Recruitment of
Adolescent Males in the Southern Philippines,” Naval Post Graduate School, December
2009
30
Andrew Tan, “Armed Muslim Separatist Rebellion in Southeast Asia: Persistence,
Prospects, and Implications,” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 23:4, 267-288, 2000
14
Ricardo Morales, Philippine Army, examines factors which contribute the length of the
insurgencies in the Philippines. 31 He cites Philippine scholar Samuel K. Tan’s work on
the Bangsamoro people which explains that Mindanao has a long history of violence.
Intra-tribal disturbances were struggles for supremacy or status among the leaders of
local society; inter-tribal encounters were over control of resources for group security.
The blood feuds and vendettas that exist to this day in Mindanao, called rido, are residual
evidence of this historical practice. These eventually transformed into rebellion against
central authority, first against the foreign colonizers, then against a government
composed of other Filipinos. 32 According to Morales, the Moro rebellion was caused by
economic, political and social marginalization of the earlier inhabitants of Mindanao as a
result of the continued migration of Christians which created friction between the new
settlers and the Muslims. The number of Christian migrants in Central Mindanao soared
from .7 million in 1948 to 2.3 million in 1970, displacing Muslim landowners and
precipitating the beginning of armed rebellion. The grievances are still salient today.

A 2009 RAND assessment of the terrorist threat in SE Asia provides historical context
and causal factors for the militancy in Mindanao, detailing the main grievances and
policy failings of the central government and corruption of the ARMM which leave the
province in substantially no better condition than when the MNLF insurgency ended in
1996.33 The MILF rejected the 1996 autonomy agreement with aspirations for complete
independence and institution of Sharia rule. In addition to this ideological split, it is noted
by Chalk, et al that while the MNLF is comprised mostly of Tausugs and is strongest in
the Sulu Archipelago, MILF is predominantly comprised of Maguindanao and Maranao
people, who are mainly in the provinces of Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, on northern
Mindanao island. MILF has adopted a less Islamist stance since the beginning of a truce
in 2001 with respect to the negotiations, but the rhetoric of obligation of jihad is still used

31
Ricardo C. Morales, Colonel, Philippine Army, “Perpetual War: the Philippine
Insurgencies,” Naval Post Graduate School, 2003
32
Samuel K. Tan, The Bangsamoro Struggle. UP Forum Online. Official Publication of
the University of the Philippines, Tomo 1, Blg. 7, May/June 2000.
33
Peter Chalk, Angel Rabasa, William Rosenau, and Leanne Piggott, “The Evolving
Terrorist Threat to SE Asia, A Net Assessment,” 2009 RAND Corporation, Santa
Monica CA
15
in recruiting young men who are raised in a traditional warrior culture. Other themes that
motivate support for MILF are reclaiming Muslim lands and addressing repression,
poverty, marginalization and social exclusion. Members are offered clothing, housing,
employment and “upward mobility.” With respect to the support of the populace, the
RAND report notes that the ability of MILF to resist counterinsurgency efforts for more
than 30 years suggests that the movement has a strong base. The future prospects of
Mindanao very much depend on the successful outcome of the peace talks with the
MILF; a positive conclusion, it is hoped, will isolate remaining radicals in Mindanao and
permit the AFP to eradicate remaining ASG and JI irreconcilables on Basilan and Sulu.

This study is a new contribution based on field work conducted in 2011 in Mindanao and
the Sulu Archipelago, with the support of the JSOTF-P. It is a mixed qualitative and
quantitative exploration designed to understand the human terrain in the context of
ongoing FID efforts by US special operations forces. It was not driven by short-term
command imperatives, but it seeks to redress the “sheer dearth” of primary material
available to satisfy a critical shortfall of basic research on the Muslims of Mindanao.

In this dissertation, we will use cultural domain analysis to discover not only what people
believe about Philippine Muslims, but how people may be fitting information about Islam
into their pre-existing views and forming cultural models. If we find that these models
diverge between laymen and experts (i.e., Muslims)—and many policymakers who are
essentially laymen with respect to understanding Islam—then we have a basis for
understanding how the US engagement effort might be made more effective.

Cultural consensus modeling and principal components analysis will be used to show in a
mixed-methods approach the degree to which different groups share the same model of
what it means to be a Muslim in the Philippines. If policy stakeholders and Muslims
hold differing understanding of Muslim’s beliefs and values—then communication, and
thus, engagement efforts could be impeded. This work will diagnose the areas of
agreement and disagreement to improve engagement.

16
Chapter 2: Phase I, Cultural Domain Analysis

“Culture, or Civilization, taken in its wide ethnographic sense, is that complex whole
which includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, custom, and any other capabilities
and habits acquired by man as a member of society." Sir Edward Burnett Tyler, 187134

Exploration: Discover, Describe, Compare


According to H. Russell Bernard, cultural domain analysis is the “study of how people in
a group think about lists of things that somehow go together.” (Bernard 2006) The goal of
this methodology is to understand how people in different cultures interpret the content of
domains differently; in our case, we wish to discern differences in beliefs about Muslim
culture in the Philippines. The study of a cultural domain is not about exploring people’s
preferences (do you prefer bananas or mangoes?) but about things that exist and
somehow go together (e.g., in the domain of “fruit,” lemons, oranges and grapefruits are
citrus fruits, while apples and pears are not) (Bernard and Ryan 2010). Hence the content
of a cultural domain is in principle shared; the degree to which it is shared is an empirical
question (Borgatti 1998). In anthropological research, semi-structured interviews are
used in the exploratory stage to discover the content and boundaries of the cultural
domain being studied. Interviews are used rather than focus groups to maximize
participant response variance and elicit complete and independent responses. Semi-
structured interviews allow informants to explain their beliefs and values in their own
words.

The first step is to define the cultural domain of interest. This is done by the respondents,
not the researcher, to ensure the research captures the knowledge and beliefs of the
people being studied, and does not inject the researcher’s own beliefs. The most useful

34
Sir Edward Burnett Tyler, “Primitive Culture: Researches Into the Development of
Mythology, Philosophy, Religion, Art, and Custom,” 1871. E-book version downloaded
from Google Books
http://books.google.com/books/about/Primitive_Culture.html?id=AucLAAAAIAAJ as of
5/27/12
17
general technique for defining a domain is the free-listing task. (Weller and Romney
1988) The interview begins by asking the informant to list as many “kinds” of the thing
being studied as he or she can; in this study, informants were asked to free-list “kinds” of
Muslims.

The researcher then elicits more information to discover beliefs about the things listed
using open-ended questions to encourage paragraph-length answers. One does not
assume beforehand what the beliefs and values might be; for example, one would only
supply labels such as “moderate” or “extremist” when asking informants for
clarification—for example, if moderates are not mentioned explicitly during free-listing,
one might probe the informant for his or her views on moderation. The interview
guideline is shown in Figure 2; the actual flow of the interview depended on the
informant and determined the exact follow up questions.

1
Introduction:
We are trying to 2
learn about how 3
Please list five or more kinds of
Americans I noticed you did/did not mention
Muslims, using any categories you
understand Islam “moderate” Muslims.
wish, in your own words
and Muslims. What is a moderate Muslim, in your view?
Lots of people
discuss and use
various terms for
types of Muslims.

For each of these categories you mentioned, I’d like to know the characteristics you associate with
4 each—describe in your own words how you would know a person belongs in a category you listed

What are the What political beliefs What behaviors What particular
particular religious do you associate have you observed groups or networks
beliefs you with this category? or you believe can or organizations do
associate with this What political goals be ascribed to this these kinds of
5 category? Please or agendas do you category of Muslim? Muslims belong?
name as many as associate with this
you can category of Muslim?
.

Figure 2. Interview Guidelines

Phase I Sampling Strategy


In this first, exploratory stage, the purpose of sampling was to capture the range and the
central tendency of beliefs, rather than obtain classic parameter estimates, thus statistical
sampling was not performed. The sample was eclectic—small and non-random,

18
deliberately not representative, but useful for probing the structure and limits of beliefs
about Muslims and Islam. This sampling approach distinguishes ethnography from social
and behavioral research which judges the reliability, validity and generalizability of
findings by reference criteria from classical statistical theory. W. Penn Handwerker and
Daniel F. Wozniak addressed the criticism that cultural data collected by convenience
sampling might not be reliable and valid as follows (Wozniak 1997). Ethnography is the
process that seeks to document what people believe, feel and do in the context of their
culture; ethnographic data by their nature are not independent. Cultural data comes from
questions like “What does it mean to be a conservative Muslim?” and “How do you
distinguish Tausug people from Yakans?” In ethnography, the answer is necessarily
related to the answers that other people will give who share the culture. However,
answers to questions like “How old are you?” or “Where do you live?” have no necessary
relationship to answers given by another person. The authors demonstrated in their paper
that the simple random sample accurately gave estimates of known population
parameters, and non-probability (convenience) samples did not; while, for cultural data,
the two sampling schemes yielded identical results.

In this phase of the research, the sample included members of the JSOTF-P, of the
Philippine armed forces, and local populace (Muslim and Christian). Informants from the
JSOTF-P included both Philippine civilian employees and military members.
Respondents were chosen from various organizational levels and ranks. Informants from
the AFP included officers and enlisted men. Members of the populace included both
Christians and Muslims from different areas of Mindanao. Due to adverse security
conditions in Mindanao, the author could not travel without armed JSOTF-P escorts, and
access to certain communities was often infeasible due to ongoing AFP offensive
operations. In Phase I, the author was permitted to conduct interviews in several
locations in northern Mindanao, at JSOTF-P headquarters, at WESMINCOM
headquarters, and in the residential areas of the WESMINCOM base.

A snowball sampling strategy was used to find informants. Individuals from each
community of interest were contacted and asked for interviews. Then, these individuals

19
were asked to recommend more informants. Table 1 shows the sample of 30
informants; for the free-listing method, a sample size of 20-30 is typical.35

Country/Religion Agnostic Christian Jewish Muslim Grand


Total
Republic of 0 3 0 8 11
Philippines
AFP Member 0 1 0 4 5
Civilian 0 2 0 4 6
United States 1 17 1 0 19
USA 1 10 0 0 11
USAF 0 4 1 0 5
USN 0 3 0 0 3
Grand Total 1 20 1 8 30

Table 1. Phase I Sample.

Phase I Data Analysis


There are a number of things that can be observed and inferred from free-listing data.
The core central concepts of a cultural domain are the items most salient to the
respondents and the periphery, given by less salient items, provides the boundary and
shows the diversity in the domain. The importance or saliency of an item is inferred from
the position of an item on a list, and the number of different lists it appears on. People
tend to mention things that are more salient right away, and the more people that mention
a thing, the more salient it is. These two indices of salience tend to be highly correlated.
The boundary of the domain may be inferred when the list changes very little as more
people are interviewed. While practically speaking we could continue to find more items
in the domain, what typically happens is the list will trail off to things that only one

35
Interviews are conducted until no new information is obtained; Susan Weller notes that
20-30 interviews are usually sufficient with a coherent domain (Weller, 1988). If more
interviews are needed, they will be done.
20
person mentions—things that are not very salient. As more people are interviewed the list
becomes stable and the order of things tends not to change.

Items are tabulated by counting the number of informants that mentioned each thing, and
ordered in terms of frequency of response. If the domain is coherent, if the researcher
used adequate probes and encouragements with the informants, and if the domain is not
too small, then usually the most frequently mentioned item on the list will have been
mentioned by a majority of the sample. There is no fixed rule about how many of the
free-list items to use in the ongoing study; generally the list will be too long to use all of
the items. The most frequently mentioned items receive priority, but less-mentioned
items can be used to insure variety.

The raw data from the free-list task is displayed as overall frequency of mention in Figure
3. The overall frequency distribution is characteristic of a domain that is not highly
shared but the classic scree shape shows the core and periphery of the domain; the core
items are above the “elbow” in the curve, and the periphery items are below the elbow. If
a domain is highly shared across a culture, we typically see a small group of items that
most individuals (e.g., >70%) mention; a slightly larger group of items that some people
(e.g., 40-69%) mention; a still larger group that only a few people (e.g., 10-39%)
mention; and the largest group that few individuals (e.g., 1-9%) mention. These items
represent the core and periphery aspects of the domain (i.e., those items that are more and
less typical or important), items mentioned most often belonging to the core, and the
items mentioned least often belonging to the periphery. In contrast, domains that are not
shared have a different distribution. In these cases, we rarely find items that are
mentioned by most people; instead, we find that the most salient items are rarely
mentioned by more than 30% or 40% of the sample.(Bernard and Ryan 2010)

In Figure 3, the most salient items are labeled, e.g., “Tausug” was mentioned by 37.5% of
respondents; Tausug, Maranao, Yakan, Maguindanao, Sama, Badjao and Iranon are

21
Philippine ethno-linguistic (tribal) groups known to the respondents.36 Sunni and Shia
are Islamic sects; Philippine Muslims are nearly all Sunnis. So the “kinds” of Muslims
most salient to the respondents are the tribal identities and sects, then violent and
extremist ones. Interestingly, conservatives and fundamentalists receive equal mention
along with fanatics and moderates, Iraqis and Afghans, and those who are part of the
separatist groups MNLF and MILF. The periphery items, too numerous to label, are
circled in red and presented in Table 2. Typical of a free-list task, there are many items
mentioned by only one or two people. Thirty interviews were performed; the same core
items were appearing and no significant new information was being obtained, so data
collection for this task was completed.

36
Members of the various Moro ethnic groups may be found all over Mindanao, but the
Tausugs, Sama and Yakan peoples mainly live in the Sulu Archipelago; the
Maguindanao, Maranao and Iranon live in distinct locales on the main island of
Mindanao. (McKenna, Thomas M. Muslim Rulers and Rebels: Everyday Politics and
Armed Separatism in the Southern Philippines. Berkeley: University of California
Press, 1998. http://ark.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/ft0199n64c/)

22
Figurre 3. Raw frequencies
fr of
o items from m free-list tassk. The item
ms mentioneed
infreq
quently (by one
o or two persons
p only) are circledd in red and ppresented in Table 2.
Vertiical scale is frequency
f off item (perceent of responnses) horizonntal scale is ddomain item
m.
(Therre are 97 itemms)

223
These items
mentioned by
two persons These items mentioned by one person only:
only:
non-violent uneducated and animist Calagan Islamic
illiterate
Sufi unsophisticated Sangil converts Iranian
and illiterate
peaceful progressive Subayon convert
fundamentalist African unconquered nice ones
radicals regular Muslim bad mainstream
militants those who do extreme Mapulin
bad things fundamentalists
practicing Tablighs extreme versions liberal
non-practicing violent every-day lawless
extremists normal ones elements
Samal violently Davonigno Muslim lite less
missionary strict
non-extremists populace from Jolo Arab
poor strict ones extremist- mellows
fundamentalists
uneducated true believers friendly mean ones
devout true Muslim fighters fundamentalist
s
educated similar to from Tawi in-between
Westerners ones
westernized Sobayan Bedouins Indian
Wahhabi sophisticated believers who hypocrites
and educated follow the Koran

24
wealthy regular Bangsamoro Kurdish
populace
terrorists traditional criminals kind Muslims
Filipino rogue criminal Indonesian
Table 2. Items mentioned by one or two people when asked to list “kinds” of Muslims.

We can compare the responses to the free-list task by sub-group. JSOTF-P members and
Muslims differ markedly in their responses, as shown in Figure 4. The distribution of
responses for Muslims indicates that this domain is widely shared across the culture,
meaning that these are items shared by most people in the Muslim sub-group. Muslims
mention the most prominent Moro tribes first, then “conservative” and then the Sunni and
Shia sect. The tribe “Iranon” is mentioned, then uneducated/educated. Violence and
radicalism is mentioned at a lower frequency. Ethnic or cultural identity is very salient to
the residents of Mindanao; both Christians and Muslim respondents mentioned that the
Moro peoples’ cultural practices, dialects and personalities vary amongst the tribes.
However, almost all Muslims in the Philippines are of the Sunni sect; respondents often
said that there is only “one” kind of Islam in the country, so it is not surprising that sect is
not very salient to the respondents—it is more or less assumed that people are Sunni. It
is interesting, however, that the Wahhabi sect is mentioned. Wahhabis are evangelical
fundamentalists originally from Saudi Arabia that some respondents said are promoting
radical teachings in the Philippines. It would be important for the task force to know how
prevalent the sect is and what kind of influence they have on the populace.

The distribution for JSOTF-P indicates that this is not a widely shared domain, bearing in
mind that these are the raw responses and there are many synonymous terms in the free-
list data. In contrast to the Muslim respondents, JSOTF-P members mentioned the Sunni
and Shia sects first then “violent” and “extremist.” The related term “fanatics” and its
opposite “moderates” appear next along with “Iraqis” and “Afghans.” Sunni-Shia
tension and violence were very critical to understand in Iraq, and less a factor in
Afghanistan, but nevertheless a consideration; it is likely that this is one reason service
members mention the sects so often. It is interesting that Iraqis and Afghans appear more

25
salient to the task force members than the local tribes; many of the members have served
multiple tours in the CENTCOM theater, and certainly those experiences were formative.
Given that Moro separatist and jihadist violence has killed over 100,000 people37 and is
having an enormous and deleterious impact on the development of Mindanao, one
wonders why extremism and violence do not seem as salient to our Muslim respondents
as to our JSOTF-P respondents. Possibly there was reticence to list those unpleasant
aspects to an outsider during a very brief interview. These topics were discussed in the
follow-up questions to the free-list exercise.

37
Andrew Tan, op.cit.
26
Figurre 4. Comparison of freee-list task reesponses bettween JSOTF
F-P memberrs and
Musllim Filipinoss. Vertical sccale is frequ
uency (percennt of responses); horizonntal scale is
item.

Them
matic Cate
egorization of the Frree‐list Re
esponses.
It is useful
u to exaamine raw daata from a frree-list task, but a comm
mon problem with the raw
w
data is
i that many of the respo nonymous. So in this daata set, afterr correcting
onses are syn
for sp
pelling errors and plural versions of terms, the trrue frequency count for aan item like
“Shiaa” is simple to
t determinee. But, for example, therre are many terms used tto express
the ch
haracteristic of being vio
olent in some sense (e.g.., violent, baad, fighters, m
militant,
mean
n, lawless) an
nd extremistt (e.g., extrem
mist, fanatic , fundamenttalist) and respondents
227
may combine and conflate violence, extremism, conservatism and religiosity (e.g., they
mentioned violent extremists, violently missionary, extremist fundamentalists) as they
struggle to describe this complex construct. So frequency analysis of the raw data may
underrepresent the true saliency of certain constructs. The next exploratory step is to
group the ninety-seven free-list responses into thematic categories.

The responses were grouped into the following nine themes; in parentheses are typical
and rarer exemplars (typical...rarer). The entire table is presented in Appendix 3. In this
coding, the categories of “extremists” and “moderates” are used provisionally,
recognizing that those terms are themselves multi-dimensional and subject to
interpretation:

• Philippine Tribal/Ethnic (Tausug, Yakan…Bangsamoro)


• Other Tribal/Ethnic (Bedouin…Kurdish)
• Sect (Sunni, Shia, … Sufi, Wahhabis)
• Extremists (extremists, violent … jihadists, “lawless elements”)
• Moderates (moderates, westernized…progressive, “every-day normal ones”)
• Geographic reference (Iraqi, Afghan…African, “from Jolo”)
• Religiousness (conservative, devout, “strict ones,” … “true believers” “violently
missionary” )
• Wealth (wealthy, rich, poor)
• Education (educated, uneducated)

Figure 5 shows the frequency distribution of the free-list items when binned into these
categories. The JSOTF-P and Muslim respondents are in even more sharp contrast than
the raw data indicated, and consolidation of the many synonyms for violence/extremism
and non-violence/moderateness gives a different sense of salience.

28
Figurre 5. Free-liist responsess binned into
o categories. (Vertical scale is perceent of
respo
onses)

Figurre 5 illustratees that nearly


y all of the JSOTF-P
J resspondents m
mentioned chaaracteristics
assocciated with extremists (e.g., violencee, fighting, faanatics, and fundamentaalists38) whilee
less than
t half of the
t Muslim respondents
r did. The neext most saliient kind of M
Muslim for
the military
m respo
ondents was the “moderaate” kind (e.g., non-violeent, nice, weesternized)
but leess than a qu
uarter of the Muslims chaaracterized ttheir culture that way. T
The most
salien
nt “kinds” off Muslims fo
or Muslim reespondents rremains the ttribal identitties, followedd
by asspects of religiousness (ee.g., devout, conservativee, strict). Innterestingly, religiousnesss
appeaars equally salient
s to botth groups of respondentss; people were expressinng both the
depth
h of religiouss commitment (e.g., devout and the qquality of it,, e.g., evangeelical).

38
Recognizing th hat not all relligious fundamentalists are violent, it was neverrtheless clearr
ng these interrviews that respondents
durin r were in fact using this teerm to refer to violent orr
militaant individuaals in the Ph
hilippines
229
This binning does demote sect (Sunni and Shia), which appeared most salient for the
JSOTF-P respondents in the raw data, because the inclusion of the many synonyms for
violence and extremism promoted the “extremist” category. Education (e.g., literacy)
was more salient for the Muslim respondents, who associated illiteracy and lack of
sophistication with violent radicalism. JSOTF-P members made reference to country or
region of origin and non-Philippine ethnic groups; the resident respondents apparently
assumed that we were asking about Filipinos only. Both groups did mention wealth and
poverty, as in “wealthy Muslims” or “poor Muslims” as “kinds” of Muslims.

This categorization is exploratory; it begins to indicate that the respondents have very
different perspectives. The large range and diversity of characteristics that people use to
discuss Muslims and Islam in the Philippines describe a very unfamiliar cultural domain
with a vastly different ethnic context than Iraq or Afghanistan. The data from the free-list
task suggests stark differences in point of view between the different stakeholders in the
area–local Muslims view themselves primarily in terms of their tribal/ethnic identity
while JSOTF-P members view Muslims mainly through the lenses of sectarian
orientation, religious extremism/moderation and violence. Further analysis will shed
light on how their beliefs may be impacting decision-making and interaction with their
partners and populace. Qualitative analysis of the semi-structured interviews is presented
next to uncover key dimensions of beliefs about Muslims and Islam.

Thematic Analysis of Interviews


During the free-list task, informants received follow-up questions about the “kinds” of
Muslims they mentioned; for example, if someone mentioned that “extremists” are a type
of Muslim, follow-up questions probed what they meant by that. To discover the key
dimensions of informant beliefs about Muslims and Islam, text from the interviews39 was
analyzed to refine the major themes discovered during the free-list exercise and to find
more themes or sub-themes. The techniques described by Gery Ryan and H. Russell

39
Interviews were not recorded; informants seemed much more comfortable with note-
taking. The field notes were transcribed each day that interviews were conducted as soon
as possible after the interview. The field notes were written in the vernacular of the
speaker.
30
Bernard in the anthropology journal Field Methods were used. Basically, as Ryan and
Bernard termed it, a theme is found when one can answer the question, “What is this
expression an example of?” (Ryan and Bernard 2003) Thus in this research, themes were
induced from the data; no a priori themes were applied to the texts. The themes were
kept to a manageable few which seemed most relevant to the research, built into a
hierarchical codebook, and finally, linked into cultural models (the beliefs, values and
practices shared by members of a group.)

The text-analysis software, QDAMiner, was used to expedite open coding of the
interview field notes.40 The notes were studied while looking for:
 Frequently used words
 Indigenous phrases
 Metaphors and analogies
 Grammatical transitions
 Missing data (things not said, topics avoided)

40
QDAMiner is a mixed methods qualitative data analysis software package for coding,
annotating, retrieving and analyzing small and large collections of documents and
images, owned by Provalis Research; see
http://www.provalisresearch.com/QDAMiner/QDAMinerDesc.html
31
Themes and Subthemes
The thirty semi-structured interviews provided extensive content about Muslims and
Islam in the Philippines. Eleven main themes were identified using qualitative analysis:
Violent Extremist Organizations (VEOs), Violence, Extremism, “Regular” Muslims,
Religiousness, Drivers of Violence, Morality-Corruption, Education, Wealth, Geographic
References, and Tribes. The themes of Morality-Corruption, Education and Wealth
received comparatively minor mention in the interviews, but contain important linkages
to violent extremism; those themes are woven throughout the material and will be
discussed as they appear. The theme of Geographic References will not be discussed
further; the key finding about geography in the interviews was that the JSOTF-P
members often referred to their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan when asked about
Muslim culture, and generally did not express detailed knowledge about Mindanao.41
Information about the tribes is contained in the discussions of the other themes, so that
theme also will not be discussed separately. A key finding about the tribes is that while
the locals referred to them instantly and almost universally when asked about Muslims in
Mindanao, most JSOTF-P members did not. This means that fundamental information
about the human terrain is not salient to the task force members.

The following is a discussion of the themes and sub-themes, shown in Table 3, including
the frequency distribution by nationality and religion and tables of sample quotations
including typical and rarer exemplars. This content is presented in some detail because
our respondents use differences in language that seem subtle but in actuality signal
important linkages as well as potentially important divergences in view. The tables of
quotes for sub-themes are available in Appendix 6.

The linkages are important because they indicate the cultural models that people hold,
and those influence how people will perceive and filter policy. The language used by the

41
Most members of the JSOTF-P staff are not special operations forces (SOF) and do not
have specialized regional training. I want to be clear, though, that the Special Forces
(Army SOF) do have a great deal of savvy about the Philippines, but I did not have
opportunity to go into a lot of the nuances of how the security situation varied by district
with them or the locals.
32
task force is of utmost importance. Language mistakes could render engagement and
influence activities ineffective, whereas effectively using the language that the populace
uses might resonate with them. This chapter should be a very useful reference for
members of the task force and anyone interested in engaging this populace, especially
those working in intelligence, Public Affairs, Strategic Communications, Civil Military
Operations, and Military Information Support Operations (MISO).

This analysis will reveal that who qualifies as a religious extremist, who is a militant (or
even if those are really different things) and who may primarily be criminal is not so
easily distinguished in the Philippines. Religion, power, money, grievances and violence
are not to be so neatly divided, and these elements appear throughout the interviews in
complicated relationships—an ecology, if you will. This subject merits its own very
detailed ethnography; this dissertation can only begin to uncover the signposts of what
would be most valuable to study first.

33
"Regular" Drivers of
Major VEOs Violence Religiousness Extremism
Muslims Violence
Themes
Bangsamoro
Islamic Democratic-
Many Cultures-Only
(Less Common)

Freedom Mean Liberal- Lawless Anti-US


One Islam
Fighters Progressive
(BIFF)
Al Qaeda Middle/In-
Beheading Convert Islamist Sectarian
(AQ) between
Moro
National
Non-Violent
Liberation Bad Devout Fundamentalist Defensive
Peaceful
Front
Sub-themes

(MNLF)
Jemaah
Support
Islamiyah Fighting Sharia Rogue Revenge
Extremists
(JI)
Moro
Islamic
Suicide
Liberation Convert (verb) Majority Fanatics Tribal/Cultural
bombers
Front
(MILF)
Abu Sayyaf
Group IED Less Strict Moderate Jihadist Grievances
(ASG)
(More Common)

Normal-Regular-
KFR Practicing Terrorist Separatism
Mainstream
Conservative-Strict-
Violent Friendly-Nice Militants Money
Pious-Traditional
Muslims are like Islam inherently
Radical
us/Westernized violent
Extremist Islam Distorted
People are misled

Table 3. Major Themes and Sub-Themes extracted from the semi-structured interviews.
Sub-themes which are more common are lower in the column.

34
Theme: Violent Extremist Organizations

VEOs JSOTF-P (Christian, Philippines Philippines


Jewish or Agnostic; 19 (Muslim; 8 (Christian;
cases) cases) 3 cases)
Bangsamoro 1 2 1
Islamic Freedom
Fighters (BIFF)
Al-Qa’ida (AQ) 2 2
Moro National 4 5 1
Liberation Front
(MNLF)
Jemaah 5 4
Islamiyah (JI)
Moro Islamic 5 7 1
Liberation Front
(MILF)
Abu Sayyaf 6 5 1
Group (ASG)
Table 4. Count by case (interview) of the violent extremist organizations discussed by
the respondents.

Table 4 lists the main violent extremist organizations discussed in the interviews,
showing the number of cases (each interview is a case) in which the particular VEOs
were mentioned at least once; Table 22 in Appendix 6 shows typical and rarer quotes.

According to Kathleen Meilahn of the Naval Post-Graduate School, violent extremists


fall in to one of the following categories: insurgents, militia, global totalitarian radicals
(such as al-Qa’ida ), religious nationalists (such as the Taliban), and their associated

35
volunteers (foot soldiers). Violent Extremists are individuals who have been radicalized.
(Meilahn 2008) In the Philippines, we have representatives of all of these categories
except the global totalitarian radicals, al-Qa’ida 42. Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) are regional
al-Qa’ida affiliates operating in SE Asia; the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)
were once insurgents and still are religious nationalists with violent “rogue splinters;” the
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Front (BIFF)
are active insurgents and religious nationalists; Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) are putatively
jihadist/religious nationalists, at least in their public stance. There are numerous illegal
militias reporting to a plethora of actors both Muslim and Christian, including various
elected officials and clan leaders. Some of the militia may be radicals but some may
simply be clan or personal foot-soldiers. These militias were mentioned by various
respondents as “goons” but details about them are beyond the scope of this research. The
militias are ubitiquous and are terribly dangerous and deleterious to good governance.43

The militias and the other VEOs are part of an ecology of de facto governance, which
competes with or substitutes for de jure governance. In Mindanao, weak legitimate
governance means that security is privatized by the wealthy and rule of law is suborned
by money, connections and by rule of armed power. A few elite families control most of
the wealth and elected positions; members of the elected government themselves use and
manipulate both the official and unofficial elements of governance. “Without guns, you
are nobody,” say the locals.

BIFF:
The BIFF is a recently splintered faction of the MILF which broke away after the MILF
decided to enter peace negotiations; one could argue as to whether they are “really”
separate from the MILF, or a strategic move by MILF to keep pressure on Manila while
the peace talks are ongoing; one Muslim respondent opined that the split was political,
not ideological or religious. There are very interesting power-dynamics in Mindanao

42
So far as the author is able to determine at the unclassified level, there are no AQ
operatives in the Philippines.
43
Eduardo F. Ugarte, “The ‘Lost Command’ of Julhani Jillang: An alliance from the
Southwestern Philippines,” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 32, 303-321, 2009
36
that were hinted at by the locals. In the aftermath of the Ampatuan massacre, in which 57
election opponents, families and members of the press were ambushed and massacred by
Ampatuan clan militia,44 there may have been a local power & money vacuum that was
filled by the MILF-BIFF split. This quote refers to the private militia (“followers”) of the
Ampatuan clan going over to the BIFF:

“You know Amapatuan? The massacre? He the ruler of all Mindanao, he killed
political opponents and reporters. He was MNLF before. Now (he is under
arrest) all his go to Kato, to the BIFF. We believe the current governor supports
the BIFF, he is Toto, Magunadato. Kato has more followers now, former
followers of Ampatuan. Why? Because no money after the massacre (because
of the arrests).” (RP-Christian)

If the current governor of Maguindanao district, Toto, does indeed support the BIFF, that
may present a problem for the JSOTF-P and AFP. This points to an urgent need to
thoroughly document these relationships as networks. In any case, the BIFF is more or
less confined to a rugged area of northern Mindanao and its leadership (Ameril Kato in
particular) is vigorously targeted by the AFP with JSOTF-P assistance.

JI/AQ:
Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) is important because it is the only trans-national VEO and al-
Qa’ida (AQ) affiliate known to be operating in the Philippines, having expanded there
from Indonesia; continual pressure is maintained on JI to prevent them from mounting
significant attacks on Philippine or US interests and to degrade their facilitation
networks. It is notable that although there are no known al-Qa’ida operations in
Mindanao at this time, the global jihadist group received a few mentions linking them to
the local VEOs, such as:

“JI they are linked with ASG and AQ.” (RP-Muslim)

44
Alastair McIndoe, "Behind the Philippines Maguindanao Massacre,” Time World, 27
Nov 2009,
37
“The radicals? There is MNLF, MILF, Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah and
Al-Qa’ida .” (RP-Muslim)

Both US and Philippine respondents mention that the two groups are connected and share
ideology and radicalization strategies:

“The JI have same belief as AQ, and same strategy as the Communists. They use
propaganda to generate sympathy and in the madrassas, they teach radical, and
they speak to crowds. They still have ideology of jihad. JI want Islam to rule
everyone–but that is un-Islamic, because the Koran says there is no compulsion in
religion.” (RP-Muslim)

JSOTF-P members mentioned that JI personnel had intermarried with local women and
were integrated into society; JI operatives are involved in sophisticated operations and are
terrorist facilitators:

“Now JI, they are still jihadist with ties to AQ, and going abroad for stuff. They
do IEDs, ambushes, safe havens, staging, training, extortion. They marry local
wives to integrate into society here. (US)

The JI guys here, they have intermarried. This is their safe haven, they are not
fighter guys, more like facilitators.” (US)

MNLF:
The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) is a prominent and legally recognized
entity which laid down arms in 1996; however, so-called “rogue” elements bearing that
name are violent and are said to collaborate with JI and ASG. For example, one Muslim
respondent said:

“The MNLF wants peace, but renegades split off, they do not want peace!” (RP-
Muslim)

38
Other Muslim respondents asserted that the MNLF is not an extremist group, although
they are a separatist group. Some Muslim and US respondents nevertheless referred to
MNLF proper as violent extremists and as religious radicals; a US respondent said:

“They (MNLF and others) are violent separatist groups, supposedly negotiating
for peace but they are really negotiating deceptively to gain advantage.” (US)

MILF:
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is a Moro separatist group that broke away in
1984 from the MNLF, and adopted a more visibly Islamist posture; after years of
insurgency in Mindanao, they are currently in peace talks which have been punctuated
by fighting. The MILF rejected the autonomy arrangement brokered between the MNLF
and Manila in 1996, and insisted that only a fully independent Islamic state was
acceptable. However, some Muslim respondents remarked that the MILF struggle is not
about religion, but about separate governance, and that the populace supports the MILF
because of grievances:

And MILF–I do not know why they have “Islamic” in the name, their struggle is
not religious, it is about separate government. (RP-Muslim)

“The Congress is mostly Christians from Luzon, their laws do not help
Maguindanao. That is maybe one reason people support the MILF–the
prejudice.” (RP-Muslim)

US respondents believe that MILF is a violent group—for example they “use the
populace for a shield” but that “not all the MILF” are extreme and that perhaps “rogue”
or “lawless” elements are a problem. US respondents believe that MILF members are
“extremely conservative.”

39
ASG:
The most-mentioned group is the home-grown terrorist group, Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).
The ASG is a continual menace to the populace because its members raise cash with
kidnap-for-ransom (KFR) operations, drug smuggling and gun-running, and commit
bombings and ambushes; they are a priority concern of the JSOTF-P, PNP and AFP. The
ASG seems to have lost most of its jihadist reputation and any sense of legitimacy with
the populace in recent years.45 Respondents said typically that:

“They (ASG) are doing crimes, smuggling, drugs, gun running, and ASG, they
are doing KFR. It is all about money.” (RP-Christian)

“The fanatics, here in the PI, they are not so much preaching jihad or the
caliphate any more, I mean the ASG. Now it is about criminality, and they no
longer have strong key leaders” (US)

“The doings of the ASG is against the teachings of Islam–it is a “grave offense”
before the eyes of God” (RP-Muslim)

Both US and Philippine Muslim respondents, noting the lack of development in the Sulu
Archipelago and the dearth of education and jobs, felt that people joined ASG these days
mostly because of their “situation” and that it is like a gang—not so easy to leave. Also,
one Muslim respondent felt sympathetic that ASG provided the only alternative for
people who had no connections (bata-bata) to get jobs:

The locals, they see the ASG as their only alternative against the politics. Almost
all ASG members have criminal records and they are victims of the politicians’
bata-bata system. The ASG guys, 95% are in the group because of their
situation, they do not believe in jihad. (RP-Muslim)

45
Mckenzie O’Brien, “Fluctuations Between Crime and Terror: the Case of Abu
Sayyaf’s Kidnapping Activities,” Terrorism and Political Violence, 24:2, 320-336
40
Although respondents did typically agree that ASG is now more of a criminal network
than an Islamist extremist group, members of ASG nevertheless do have a reputation for
extreme religious conservatism, and are said to use jihadist rhetoric to recruit.

Some quotes mention more than one group, possibly indicating that the groups are linked
in that person’s thoughts; people did say that the groups have members in common and
that some families have members in multiple groups. It would be enormously helpful to
conduct formal social network analysis (SNA) of the VEOs, families and tribal groups.
The AFP and PNP officers I met were keenly interested in network analysis; they had
painstakingly developed knowledge of the people and VEOs but had very limited ability
to create electronic databases and had no experience with SNA software tools. This
would be an excellent goal for future capacity-building with our partners.

When people spoke about these extremist groups, some of them distinguished between
the groups in terms of ideology or motivations, i.e., JI are jihadists-terrorists, ASG are
money-making criminal-terrorists and religious extremists, MNLF and MILF are
righteous conservatives fighting oppression (and BIFF is a rogue splinter); but some
people simply lumped all these groups together as violent extremists.

Some people felt that the groups were all very religiously motivated, some felt that
certain groups used religion sincerely as recruitment motivation and that some groups
espoused religion as a cover for simple naked aggression or out of political convenience.
The sense that terroristic violence is a “grave offense” before the eyes of God is a critical
message, but probably best voiced by local leadership rather than JSOTF-P messaging to
be deemed authentic and sincere

There are those who believe that people join these groups to earn money, as jobs are
scarce, and then become trapped. This is another aspect of the VEO ecology—that their
activities provide employment and income—the de facto economic aspect of
governance—in the absence of a healthy economy.

41
Theme: Violence

JSOTF-P (Christian, Philipp Philippines


Jewish or Agnostic; ines ( (Christian
19 cases) Musli 3 cases)
m; 8
Violence cases)
Beheading 2
Bad 3 1
Fighting 3 6 3
Suicide
bombers 3 1
IED 4 1
KFR 4 1 2
Violent 11 2 1
Table 5. Count by case of sub-themes related to Violence.

Table 5 lists the sub-themes related to Violence discussed in the interviews, showing the
number of cases (each interview is a case) in which the particular terms were mentioned
at least once; Table 23 in appendix 6 shows typical and rarer quotes. The respondents
tend to use different language when referring to violence; Americans were more likely to
use the generic term “violent” or “violence” while the locals used the term “fight” or
“fighting” much more. This discussion will start with the less prevalent expressions, and
then address the more common sub-themes.

42
Bad:
A few people used the colloquial term “bad” as in bad (violent) people or bad (violent)
acts:

“They (ASG) do KFR to make a living. But not all of them are bad, it is like a
gang, it can be hard to leave. Some members just got wrapped into it.”

The only use of the term bad by a Philippine respondent was by a Christian army
member, referring to Muslims:

“They are mostly bad. They are the worst ones. They have no school, they do not
understand. So they follow what he says. They are easily led, easy to influence
by the MILF leaders. There are no jobs.” (RP-Christian)

Kinds of Violence (KFR, IED, Beheading, Suicide Bombers)


Both US and Philippine respondents made pointed references to particular kinds of
violent tactics, e.g., kidnapping for ransom (KFR), bombings (IEDs), beheadings and
suicide bombers. Kidnapping for ransom is so prevalent that it is the local equivalent of
“business” and apparently monopolized by the VEOs:

“They do KFR to make a living.” (US)

“KFR is a business” (RP-Muslim)

“Only the Muslims do like KFR, not Christians.” (RP-Christian)

The use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) is a scourge in the Philippines; it has not
risen to the levels it did in Iraq at the time this document was written, but is nevertheless
a serious threat. A JSOTF-P member mentioned that it is used to intimidate the populace;
during conversations with one of the town mayors on Basilan, he described multiple
bombing attempts against him and his family by the ASG.

43
They do IEDs as an intimidation tool against the populace, not US forces (US)

Only Americans mentioned beheading:

“Extremists are people who behead you if you do not follow them.”

Both US personnel and Philippine Christians mentioned suicide bombing, which has to
date not occurred in the country. Martyrdom was mentioned as crazy but a powerful
motivator:

Those suicide bombers, they are insane. (RP-Christian)

They teach about martyrdom, promise that God will reward you if you sacrifice
your life and kill evil others--this is really powerful motivation. (US)

Violent/Violence:
US respondents used the general terms “violent” or “violence” in about half of the
interviews, and the context was generally religious violence; they linked devoutness to
violence and note that violent groups tend to be in rural, rather than the urban areas. In
contrast, Muslims linked radicalism to violence:

“The more devout, the more into the Koran (that they are) they tend to be more
fundamentalist. You know, Islamists. They justify violence by the Koran. They
believe Sharia should be THE law and so they want to throw out the
government.” (US)

“The violent irreconcilable ones are hiding out in the forest, i.e. they have
geographic sanctuary.” (US)

44
“Those who Koran interpretation is radical, hard-core, they are killing (like the
ASG) the book is their tool for recruiting. They are violent.” (RP-Muslim)

Some Muslim respondents also mentioned violence in the generic sense that may not
have been religiously motivated. This quote gives the sense of the ubiquity of violence:

“They who did that massacre, (it was over an election) they are very rich. The
government–there are guns and goons! Everybody has goons!” (RP-Muslim)

Fighting:
The Philippine informants used the terms “violent” or “violence” less than the Americans
did and used the term “fighting” almost universally. This may be because while
terrorism looms large in the thoughts of Americans since 9/11, the impact of the fighting
on Mindanao, in terms of deaths and internally displaced persons, dwarfs that of other
kinds of violence down there. Some respondents express that educated people are “in
the middle” both literally and figuratively and do not support the fighting:

“The educated ones, they are in the “middle” not joining the fighting” (RP-
Muslim)

Philippine Christians express that the fighting is fanatical and that not only do the VEOs
want their own separate government, but they unreasonably want the Christian residents
“out.”

“The fanatics–they have twisted minds. They are fighting for a cause, they are
like Osama bin Ladin.” (RP-Christian)

“They are fighting, they want independence, they want Christians out.” (RP-
Christian)

There is nevertheless a sense that “fighting” is a different kind of violence than terrorism:

45
“They said that ASG has “no ideology” and when they pray for courage, it is un-
Islamic because they are only doing crimes, not fighting for a principle.” (RP-
Muslim)

Also, there is a reminder from the Philippine respondents that Mindanao has never really
been pacific—the Yakan and Tausug tribes in particular have a history of conflict. US
respondents mentioned this cultural aspect as well:

“Men: they fight; they protect their area–both Yakans and Tausugs. Men of the
highlands do this and women work.“ (RP-Muslim)

“The Tausug–they are fierce, they fought for survival, they are allowed in Islam
to defend themselves. Sometimes the AFP are afraid of them.” (RP-Muslim)

“In the PI, there are particular families that are militant where for generations,
fighting is handed down to the kids.” (US)

The concept of “fighting” for worthwhile causes would appear to have great resonance
with the Muslim populace in the sense of its legitimacy and with the entire populace with
respect to its terrible impact of lives and livelihoods destroyed. It would be more
effective for JSOTF-P messaging to address the specific, core theme of fighting both as a
cultural heritage and as legitimate resistance, rather than violence in general.

46
Theme: Extremists

Extremists JSOTF-P (Christian, Philippines Philippines


Jewish or Agnostic; 19 (Muslim; 8 (Christian;
cases) cases) 3 cases)
Islamists 1
Fundamentalist 2 2
Rogue-Lawless 3 2
Fanatics 3 1
Jihadists 3 2
Terrorists 3 2
Militants 4 1
Radicals 5 5
Extremists 10 4
Table 6. Count by case of sub-themes related to Extremism.

Table 6 lists the sub-themes related to Extremists discussed in the interviews, showing the
number of cases in which the sub-themes occurred at least once. These subthemes
capture several dimensions of extremism and reveal differences in use of language
amongst the respondents. The generic term “extremist” is used by about half of both US
and Muslim respondents, so it might resonate with the populace if used in
communications, but the terms “fanatics” and “Islamists” were never used by Muslims,
and it is important to see how they were used by Christians. Philippine Christians,
although there were only three respondents, are under-represented in this theme.

Islamists:
The term “Islamist” was only mentioned in one case, but this person’s beliefs may not be
rare. The respondent equates fundamentalism and Islamism, linking both with violence
and revolt to restore full Sharia law in a caliphate:

47
“The more devout, the more into the Koran (that they are) they tend to be more
fundamentalist. You know, Islamists. They justify violence by the Koran. They
believe Sharia should be THE law and so they want to throw out the
government....they believe in a caliphate…the ones we are fighting, you know,
Islamists” (US)

Probably our forces have been exposed to al-Qa’ida propaganda on Sharia and restoral of
Islamic rule in a global caliphate, and perhaps there is JI propaganda to this effect in the
country. However, it is current US policy to engage peaceful Islamists, and therefore, it
would be important for our people to be able to distinguish between non-violent and
violent Islamists. There is a substantial body of opinion on what the definition of
“Islamist” is, and it is beyond the scope of this study to fully dissect that subject. For the
purposes of this study, we simply note that Islamism is an umbrella term commonly
applied to both violent and non-violent movements such as al-Qaeda, the Muslim
Brotherhood, the Taliban, and the MILF. The simplest definition of Islamism would be
'Political Islam', which refers to those movements that treat Islam as their political
ideology. This differentiates Islamism from secular political groups and from traditional
Islam, which does not treat the Islamic scriptures as a roadmap for political theory.

Fundamentalists:
The term “fundamentalist” is commonly equated with “extremist” by US and Philippine
respondents, and often attributed to foreign influences. Also, devoutness is linked to
fundamentalism by Americans; this might be offensive to our Muslim partners:

Well, they are extremist, fundamentalist. (RP-Muslim)

Well you know, the foreign clerics, they are fundamentalist. (RP-Muslim)

The more devout, the more into the Koran (that they are) they tend to be more
fundamentalist (US)

48
Additionaly, fundamentalism is deemed to be more prevalent in rural areas:

In Southern Basilan, it is more rural and more fundamentalist. (US)

Rogue-Renegade-Lawless:
These terms seem to be used both as slang for militants, and to express the position that
the “real” separatist organizations are not extreme, and to cast an aspersion of
illegetimacy (lawlessness):

“The MNLF wants peace, but renegades split off, they do not want peace!” (RP-
Muslim)

“The MNLF and MILF, they have rogue elements (that are lawless).” (US)

“On Basilan there are some lawless Tausug and Yakan” (RP-Muslim)

It might be appropriate and useful to use this kind of language to reinforce encourage
lawful and moderate behavior on the part of the MNLD and MILF, and/or to challenge
any assertions they may attempt to make that they cannot be held accountable for the
violence of their so-called “rogue” elements.

Fanatics
No Muslim respondents used this term, and it might not resonate with the populace if it
were used in any messaging; fanaticism connotes a rabid craziness that may make people
feel defensive. Two respondents, one US and one a Philippine Christian, expressed the
view of fanatics being “fucking psycho” and “twisted” and while these were rare quotes,
the sentiments may not be so rare in the attitudes of the respondents. Other US
respondents used the term when expressing beliefs that Islam is inherently violent and
that “moderate” or “mainstream” Muslims may sympathize with the jihadists, or even
actively support them. These perspectives are not rare and seem to indicate a deep
cynicism and mistrust of the populace as well of the extremists:

49
And these fanatics, they could become the violent extremists. Because the sword,
that is pivotal element of their religion. (US)

Fanatical, those who take it to the extreme, out of context, or for profit or to make
a name for themselves. Their views are from the parts of the Koran about
conquering (US)

So fanatics are conservative and they believe in Jihad. But…I think also
mainstream Muslims could support jihad…in their hearts. Chances are, they are
unwittingly supporting jihad, because when they fail to speak out (against jihad)
that makes them accomplices. (US)

Jihadists:
Some respondents noted that extremist groups still have jihadist beliefs and ties—
particularly JI-- but others noted that there is waning enthusiasm for the ideology:

But the leaders use jihad to convince, to recruit. A lot will join for religious
reasons. (RP-Muslim)

They (JI) still have ideology of jihad. JI want Islam to rule everyone–but that is
un-Islamic, because the Koran says there is no compulsion in religion. (RP-
Muslim)

Now JI, they are still jihadist with ties to AQ, and going abroad for stuff. (US)

They use jihad to recruit, but the populace losing interest (RP-Muslim)

The appeal of jihad as a recruitment tool or to maintain popular support may have been
eroded by the mainstream view that violent jihad is “un-Islamic” as previously quoted,
and here reinforced as the disapproval of Islamic scholars (ulema):

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Many pious of the ulema reject the ASG on the grounds of jihad. (RP-Muslim)

Terrorists:
This term seems to be used to refer in particular to JI and especially the ASG, not the
MNLF or MILF. Terrorists are said to commit ordinary crimes to fund their terroristic
crimes, deceive the populace with false religion, and are associated with foreign radicals
infesting the madrassas. Perhaps it would be useful to determine if these references to
foreign clerics radicalizing in the hinterland have any basis in fact, and if so, who they are
and what might be done about it. Terrorists apparently hate Western education and
destroy schools. The link between lack of education, inability to develop, and violence
reappears throughout the interviews:

Most of teaching in madrassas is good, to learn Arabic. But some leaders went
Saudi and came back radical. They are pretending to understand Islam and they
mislead the younger generation, they use religion to convince good people…they
recruit. Some current terrorists were madrassas students. For example, they
were taught “once you kill a Christian, you enter paradise.” (RP-Muslim)

Some Muslims go to Catholic school because the quality of education is good, but
the terrorists burn down the school. Without education people “stay dumb.”
There is no progress! (RP-Muslim)

Militants:
This term is used interchangeably with other terms in this theme by Americans; only one
Philippine respondent used the word. There is some sense that the populace is tiring of
the militants and beginning to assist the JSOTF-P or AFP more often but that they also
play both ends against the middle to get money or a development project. US personnel
express concern that the populace is either intimidated by the militants or actively
supporting them; perhaps the ground truth varies by district or the day.

51
People are losing interest in the militants, there is less support, less enthusiasm
for jihad. (RP-Muslim)

The populace is extremely intimidated by the militants. They will seem to


cooperate with the AFP to get something. Some of the populace is not intimidated
but they actively support the militants. (US)

However there was a recent case of a kidnapping of a child where the populace
reported against the militants. It was a big deal. We hope people in other
municipalities will follow suit. (US)

Radicals-Radicalizing:
Variations of the term “radical” were more broadly used by the Muslim respondents than
the task force members (and Christian Filipinos used very little of any of the language in
this theme.) “Radical” seems to be a preferred vernacular and would likely resonate with
the populace if used in communications. Muslim converts are thought to be more likely
to be radical, implying that the evangelicals of the religion are themselves more likely to
be radical. Radicals are described by Muslim respondents as cliquish people, having
their own imams, manner of dress (but not always) and general sense of mental and
physical isolation from the regular populace out in the rural areas which hints again at the
link between lack of education (here, “complexity of thought”). Foreigners radicalize:

The radicals, they have their own Imams, sometimes they are foreigners. (RP-
Muslim)

The radicals–can easily identify them. They exclude themselves from the main
community, they are in the rural areas, isolated, they isolate themselves. They are
not in the city–too much complexity of thought there, they avoid that, competition
of ideas. (RP-Muslim)

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Yes, Pakistanis, Saudis, and so forth–we call them “Arabs” they are radicalizing!
(RP-Muslim)

The radicals, sometimes they (the men) wear the old-style clothes (traditional
garb) but not always, you cannot always tell them by their dress. The ladies,
some wear the head covering and some cover the face, and they cover their hair
and arms. (RP-Muslim)

Both Muslim and US respondents asserted that the radicals’ beliefs are distortions of
Islam:

So the ones called radical or extremist Muslims are not Muslims, they are simply
radical people. (RP-Muslim)

The radicals, their beliefs are distorted (US)

Extremists:
This term is used by about half of the JSOTF-P and Muslim respondents. In these
cynical remarks, frustration is evident; extremism has no positive attribute; it is linked
intolerance, to corruption, power and abuse of the populace; extremists may have
grievances but they also create grievances. This suggests that the term may be carefully
used to delegitimize VEOs without offending the sensibilities of the locals.

However, one Muslim respondent who is also an AFP officer in WESMINCOM declared
that there are no extremists in the Philippines because “extremists are suicide bombers.”
This was an interesting assertion because members of Jemaah Islamiyah who were
directly involved in suicide bombings in Indonesia had been or were currently operating
in the Sulu archipelago and were collaborating with Abu Sayyaf and rogue elements of
MNLF and MILF. However, no suicide bombings had been perpetrated in the
Philippines to date. His perspective may be an outlier, but it could be a commonly held

53
point of view. This is an officer who interacts with the task force and the populace; he
may have expressed an important sensitivity that the task force should know about.

The issue of corruption, in the sense of an impenetrable political ecology where, in the de
facto governance, the elected government and the VEOs may be symbiotic, merits very
careful attention. However, the cooperation of local officials is critical and could be
derailed with the wrong approach. The linkages of people, groups, and political offices
would benefit from detailed analysis including SNA.

Extremists are less/non tolerant. (US)

Extremists have a power agenda, they use fear to motivate their people, they
make them afraid of the “other.” (US)

The community leaders, they are hypocrites, and they are aligned with the
extremists. They play both sides. You know, during a CMO, they will seem
friendly to us. But they are doing the dirty work for the militants for sheer greed,
not religion. They are keeping people in fear, and they are not stopping the
militants. What kind of dirty work? Like extortion and corruption. They take
government money but do not benefit their people. How do I know this? Because
we have been here ten years (and it has not changed). These community leaders–
they are not getting shot–because they are collaborating! They do not feel the
militants are a threat. (US)

Extremists capitalize on their own people's misfortune to carry out their


intentions. (US)

Muslim respondents feel that a tendency to extremism varies by tribe—certain tribes are
more warlike and politically powerful-- and some aver that it is a “homegrown” rather
than foreign-contributed phenomenon. Recall that the Tausugs and Yakans were nearly
always mentioned first by Muslims during the free-list exercise; in these quotes there are

54
hints as to why that was so. An updated ethnography of these people would be very
valuable.

Of the tribes, the Tausugs would be most likely inclined to extremism, then the
Yakans. The Yakans, they are a lot of leaders, high profile, with political power.
They know that “without guns you are nobody.” (RP-Muslim)

...all extremists in the PI are home-grown and no foreigners influence them (RP-
Muslim)

Finally, these one of quotes again link lack of education to gullibility and vulnerability to
extremist recruitment:

So if uneducated, easily convinced to follow extremist teachings. (RP-Muslim)

55
Theme: “Regular” Muslims

JSOTF-P (Christian, Philippines Philippines


“Regular”
Jewish or Agnostic; 19 (Muslim; 8 (Christian;
Muslims
cases) cases) 3 cases)
Democratic-
Liberal- 2 3
Progressive
Middle/In-
3 2
between
Non-Violent
4 6
Peaceful
Support
4 1
Extremists
Majority 6 1
Moderate 7 2
Normal-
Regular- 8
Mainstream
Friendly-
9 2 1
Nice
Muslims are
like
10
us/Westerni
zed
Table 7. Count by case of sub-themes related to “Regular” Muslims

Table 7 lists the sub-themes related to “Regular” Muslims discussed in the interviews,
showing the number of cases in which the sub-themes occurred at least once. This
theme might have been named “Moderate Muslims;” moderate is a term used frequently
by the US respondents to denote people who are not extremists and who are not involved
56
with political or terroristic violence. However, some Muslims find the term “moderate”
offensive because it insinuates that one should be less of a Muslim to not be an extremist;
this term was not used frequently any Philippine respondents. The term may be a liability
to use in public messaging; that issue deserves careful consideration.

The title “Regular” Muslims is not entirely satisfactory either, but serves to denote that
the US respondents tended to frame moderation as a sense of normal-ness from their
Western point of view and as an attribute of the majority of the populace; they tend to
mirror-image, in other words. On the other hand, the Muslim respondents, who regard
themselves as the regular folk, describe what it means to be “normal”—i.e., peace-loving,
in the “middle” or “in-between” and to enjoy and embrace democratic civil rights. Task
force members do seem to assume that other people are like them, in a kindly manner;
but this habit could skew their appreciation of the environment. They should be more
self-aware about how they view other people. Sometimes, other people are not “just like
us.”

Democratic-Liberal-Progressive:
US respondents mentioned “progressive” as an attribute for Muslims, equating it to
being mainstream, liberal, Westernized, and able to make “progress.”

“progressive Muslims...they have mainstream thinking.” (US)

“The progressive ones, government and religion can coexist, like in the UAE, the
environment is sort of free. There is economic and cultural progress. Like in
Qatar, Dubai, they embrace some Western influences.” (US)

In contrast, Muslim respondents mentioned enjoying democracy and civil rights:

He, as a Muslim in the AFP, said he enjoys freedom of religion. (RP-Muslim)

57
But here in the PI we have no oppression! Here, we have freedom, it is a
democracy, if we do not like our leaders we can vote. (RP-Muslim)

Yes, here women have full civil rights, it is far more liberal, this is a democracy.
(RP-Muslim)

Middle/In-between
These few quotes capture two important senses of what it means to not be an extremist in
the Philippines: one is in the “middle” as in the political center, or one is in the middle of
conflict and “in-between” dangerous factions and other influences, and therefore
vulnerable. Muslim respondents linked education to this attribute, just as they linked lack
of education to extremism. This should serve as encouragement that the education-
related projects that the JSOTF-P has facilitated for years are worthwhile:

The educated ones, they are in the “middle” not joining the fighting with the
MILF. (RP-Muslim)

There is a certain group, educated ones (indicating himself) we are the in-
between ones, do not like the factions. Some youth groups, as college students to
lend assistance, humanitarian, to people hurt by conflicts for evacuees. (RP-
Muslim)

The “in-between” Muslims are the majority of the population, they are subject to
many competing influences. They are like you and me, doing the best they can.
(US)

Non-violent/Peaceful
The term “non-violent” is used by US respondents and “peaceful” or “peace-loving” is
typically used by Philippine Muslims. JSOTF-P members note that non-violent people
are more likely to be urban, just as they explained that rural areas tend towards
fundamentalism.

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The non-violent Muslims in the PI are in more populated areas (US)

Muslims associate education with being peace-loving, reinforcing the idea of educated
people being in the “middle” and illiterates tending to extremism. The Sama people,
besides being educated and employed, are said to be temperamentally more genial than
the Tausugs:

Now, the Sama are a peace-loving people. Their focus is on education. They are
more professional peoples who are Sama. Sama people, they are patient people,
not like Tausug. (RP-Muslim)

“Peace-loving” might be a more effective phrase to use in task force communications


because it has a more positive, hopeful sense than “non-violent” and because it is an
indigenous vernacular. However, one problem with the term is this: being peace-loving
is not very prestigious; the dominant tribes are the warriors and they look down on the
peace-loving Samal and Badjao. So the term may resonate with some communities but
not with others:

The Badjao, they are peace-loving, abused, they migrate away like to Manila,
they sometimes are a problem only for illegal dynamite fishing. They are peace-
loving and they are afraid, afraid of dogs and ghosts, so they go to sea to avoid
the ghosts. Some of them have houses. People look down on them. The Tausug
think the Samal and Badjao are 2nd class citizens. (RP-Muslim)

59
But Maybe They Support the Extremists
Some US respondents are suspicious that, while the majority of Muslims are sort of like
“us,” they also understand and support the “fanatics:”

The middle ones--the silent majority, they want to worship in peace, be left alone,
not you know, be converted to Christianity, they approve of the Western way, but
also understand the fanatics, do not condemn them, they would not condemn an
attack on Israel. They are quiet about their feelings about the fanatics–this is
hard to understand. They may justify the fanatics’ actions to themselves.

Muslims are like us/Westernized


In half of the interviews, US service members expressed their beliefs that non-extremist
Muslims share their values and would want to live the American lifestyle; this is a US-
only theme. It is true that American culture is very popular in the Philippines—our
movies, music and fast-food restaurants are very much in evidence. It may not be
entirely true, however that they admire all aspects of our culture; both Christian (mainly
Catholic) and Muslim Filipinos alike tend to be quite conservative, as recent protests of a
Lady Gaga concert illustrated.46 It is good that our soldiers can relate to the populace, but
they may not fully appreciate cultural undercurrents if they tend to mirror-image.

They want to live their life, they want the American Dream. (US)

But they are just simple people who want to care for their families and have a
better future, they have the same values as anyone else. You know, universal
values (US)

46
Elizabeth Yuan, “Lady Gaga’s Manila concerts face protests,” CNN Online, May 21,
2012, http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/21/showbiz/gaga-manila/index.html
60
So there are two kinds of moderates: those who are not really practicing but
respect Islam, and the majority who are “like us” they just want to raise their
kids, teach their kids in peace, be left alone and have a better future. (US)

Here they are far less conservative–they seem to pray regularly but are more
open. They are much more Western, more modern, I mean they use cell phones,
and they are very friendly.

Majority
The belief that the majority of Muslims are not extreme has appeared in previous quotes,
along with the opposite belief that the majority of the populace may be silently or openly
supporting the militants. The theme of majority was expressed by about one-third of US
respondents and only one of eight Muslims, and none of the Philippine Christians. This
concept deserves separate mention because popular support for insurgency is a center of
gravity for counterinsurgency. The ground-truth with respect to this support is most
important to determine and no doubt the task force endeavors to measure it. A very good
question would be why some members believe that the populace is mostly moderate or at
least non-combative but somehow support the separatists or even the jihadists. If there is
any element of truth to this, it needs to be thoroughly understood district by district so the
deleterious influences and grievances can be addressed.

They take religion to the extreme–most Muslims are not like that. (US)

Independence from Manila–the majority of Muslims do not prefer it.(RP-


Muslim)

Moderate
This is another sub-theme expressed more commonly by Americans (7 of 19 cases) than
Philippine Muslims (2 of 8 cases) or Christians (no cases). We have already discussed
that this term may not resonate with Muslims and, being laden with so many expectations

61
but so little agreement as to its meaning, might be difficult to use effectively in
communication.

In these quotes, Muslim respondents confirm the wearing of hijab by moderate ladies,
and aver that some moderates may be more devout than others:

No, you cannot tell by dress who is radical. Some radicals wear t-shirts and
shorts and some wear traditional dress. It is painful for moderates like our
veterinarian and our director ladies that they wear hijab and someone might think
they are radical. (RP-Muslim)

The ladies who are mellows. They do wear the head covers. (RP-Muslim)

Mellows go to mosque on Fridays. Some are very religious and some are less
religious. (RP-Muslim)

American respondents expressed views that moderation is “normal,” that moderates do


not dress conservatively, are less observant, and more tolerant. This assumption that
moderates do not dress conservatively could lead to an incorrect assessment of the
populace:

Here in the PI the moderate Muslims do not wear conservative dress, they dress
normal. (US)

The moderate Muslims are normal. They have routine life, like us, you know go
to church, work, raise the family. They don't try to convert you to Islam.
Then there is Muslim Lite. Like here in the Philippines, they are tolerant, less
strict, more integrated with Christians. (US)

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Normal-Regular-Mainstream
The viewpoint that moderation is “normal” is linked to the concept of “mainstream”
Islam in US-only statements (about half of their interviews). Task force members view
Sharia law as “old-school” and conservative, as opposed to mainstream or normal. The
problem is that conservatism may actually be mainstream in the Muslim community;
Sharia courts, for example, are used for domestic matters in the ARMM, and respect for
Sharia law is not restricted to extremist enclaves.

The mainstream Muslims, they are just ordinary people living like anybody
else.(US)

Non-extremists: “progressive Muslims” they have mainstream thinking. Not so


much here. Here they are too tied to Indonesia. The old school types want Sharia
law. They are conservative. (US)

Friendly-Nice
More than half of US respondents linked niceness and friendliness to being tolerant and
less conservative, “regular, ” Western, and even modern. In contrast, a Muslim
respondent asserted that his tribe is both religious and friendly, while a neighboring tribe
is more pious (he said this in a mocking tone) and unfriendly. This snippet of
ethnography is actually a useful piece of atmoshperics, even if self-serving; it hints at
district variations in religious practices and attitudes towards the JSOTF-P. A Philippine
Christian (a young soldier serving in rural Mindanao) averred that the “friendly” Muslims
were traitorous and untrustworthy, echoing previous US statements about the populace
supporting the extremists and hinting at deep tensions between the AFP and the populace:

Here they are far less conservative–they seem to pray regularly but are more
open. They are much more western, more modern, I mean they use cell phones
(implying in other countries they don't have), and they are very friendly. (US)

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The regular populace is very nice . (US)

First of all we Maguindanao, we are kind, we love to have a big cookout to


celebrate and to praise God. We, we love Americans. The Maranaos, they love to
build mosques (snicker) and they love to pray (mocking tone). But they are not
kind. They are very pious, they always were hijab and the (man-dress). They are
less friendly to Americans. (RP-Muslim)

The friendly ones? Never, never 100% trust them. They are traitors, even if you
help them. (RP-Christian)

64
Theme: Religiousness

JSOTF-P (Christian, Philippines Philippines


Religiousness Jewish or Agnostic; 19 (Muslim; 8 (Christian;
cases) cases) 3 cases)
Many Cultures-
Only One
Islam 1 4
Convert 1 1
Devout 4
Sharia 4 2
Convert (verb) 5
Less Strict 6
Practicing 6 2
Conservative-
Strict-Pious-
Traditional 13 15
Table 8. Count by case of sub-themes related to Religiousness

Table 8 lists the sub-themes related to Religiousness discussed in the interviews, showing
the number of cases in which the sub-themes occurred at least once. This is an important
theme because it was quite salient in the free-listing task and because some people
conflate devoutness with extremism. No Philippine Christians expressed any of these
themes.

Many Cultures-Only One Islam


One of the things that Muslim respondents participating in the free-list task emphasized
was that while there are many different kinds of Muslims, and many cultural practices,
there is only one Islam. Some task force members share this point of view. Muslims
seldom mention sect, but if asked, they indicated that almost all Muslims in the
Philippines are Sunni. JSOTF-P members often mentioned sect, usually in some word-
65
string combination mentioning Sunni, then Shia. The main finding with respect to sect is
that it is fairly uniform in the country and there does not appear to be any significant
sectarian violence. Also, there is more indication of foreign influence:

There is only one religion. (RP-Muslim)

Well they have the same doctrine here as there (Saudi), maybe some Saudi
practices were brought here. (RP-Muslim)

I think Muslims re identified by their culture, like Indonesian, Iraqi, Afghan,


Filipino, and also by the Sunni-Shia type. But I think their beliefs are uniform
across the world. (US)

Another valuable piece of information here is that the tribes are insular and these
variations in cultural practices are divisive:

The tribes here have the same Islam, which links them, but different cultural
practices and traditions which divides them and causes misunderstandings. The
tribes do not mix, generally living in distinct areas, however they are known to
intermarry upon occasion. (RP-Muslim)

Converts/To Convert:
This is an interesting pair of related sub-themes on which the respondents were divided.
Converts to Islam, they both said, are more likely to be radical than those born in the
religion. This implies that radicals are either more likely to proselytize than moderates,
or more successful at it, or both. This hints that radicalization may be a problem where a
vulnerable populace is exposed to radicals such as in a prison setting.

Another kind of Muslim is a convert. Converts are MORE radical, they want to
prove themselves to be “true believers.” They are more aggressive to prove “we
are the real ones (Muslims)” (RP-Muslim)

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There are genuine converts who hold the pillars of Islam to be true. They are
faithful, more involved, enthused, excited, and evangelistic. They will embrace
the way of whoever converted them. So if a radical converted them, they will be
radical (US)

No Muslims commented on the sub-theme of converting people to Islam; Americans


expressed the sense of extremists coercing people to convert; this is an element of the
belief that the religion is either inherently violent or distorted by extremism. This likely a
very sensitive topic unsuitable for any kind of messaging by the US.

Their goals? To convert everyone to their doctrine. But this is not the core
doctrine of Islam. (US)

On Basilan, the young males, it is there mission to convert everyone or kill them–
they are violently missionary. (US)

Devout:
No Muslims used this term; about one-fifth of the US cases have this theme. Although
this term is not common, those who used it equate devoutness to violent extremism, ultra-
conservatism and power. So this is an important mental filter that some of our troops
have that could impact their appreciation of the environment. It would be important to
find out if this simply is not typical local vernacular and what exactly it means to the
locals.

The more devout, the more into the Koran (that they are) they tend to be more
fundamentalist. You know, Islamists. They justify violence by the Koran. (US)

With devout Muslims, there is one result: people die. (US)

67
Here in the PI, some Muslims are devout. You are Muslim by birth. You take
being a Muslim seriously because it relates to power. It is like a fraternity, a
social network, like the Knights of Columbus. (US)

Sharia:
About one fifth of US respondents and one quarter of Muslims mention Sharia law.
Americans associate it with extremism and the sort of strict oppression of women seen
under the Taliban, while the locals say that it is not very strictly observed there but is
used in family courts in the ARMM. This is a mistaken appreciation of local custom on
the part of the US members easily corrected by training.

For example, in Saudi Arabia, they have Sharia law, and they are very strict
about how women dress and so forth. Here Sharia has no teeth (RP-Muslim)

The Sharia courts, they are only for family matters, not criminal things. (RP-
Muslim)

They believe Sharia should be THE law and so they want to throw out the
government. (US)

The old school types want Sharia law. (US)

I don't think they want Sharia law here. (US)

Less Strict:
This sub-theme is only from remarks made by US respondents; in 6 of 19 cases, people
made observations about Muslims they thought were not very observant. They associate
this with being more tolerant and getting along with Christians, smoking and drinking
and praying/going to mosque irregularly and perhaps not really being “Muslim;” this is
the converse of the belief that devout Muslims are violent, intolerant extremists:

Some Muslims less/non practicing drink/smoke, less strict, believe in it but go to


mosque less. (US)

68
Like here in the Philippines, they are tolerant, less strict, more integrated with
Christians. (US)

The non- practicing Muslims might not be a “good Muslim” in their own mind
because not observant. (US)

Practicing:

This sub-theme covers the middle ground between “less strict” Muslims and those who
are said to be conservative, strict, pious or traditional. These are “normal” Muslims who
are not extremists and who may go to mosque regularly and pray 5 times a day; women
are said to worship in separate rooms:

We go to mosque on Friday. Women go in a separate room (RP-Muslim)

Mellows go to mosque on Fridays. Some are very religious and some are less
religious. (RP-Muslim)

Practicing Muslims, the sincere ones just trying to do right by their religion (US)

Conservative/Strict/Pious/Traditional:
These three sub-themes were merged because they were so closely related in content;
these were the most frequently mention items related to religiousness. Muslims explain a
spectrum of practices regarding dress and lifestyle from “hijab optional” to
“compulsory;” the more extreme dress, the niqab, is associated with very strict piety,
especially in northern Mindanao in the Islamic City of Marawi. Conservatism is linked
to extremism by some task force members. In the Philippines, people who dress
conservatively are more observant, but the reverse is not always true.

69
Her sister “really is a Muslim” she dresses conservatively but does not wear a
hijab. Their grandma does not want them to wear hijab. Sama “religion girls”
who were married to Imams who were hajjis would wear a niqab. (RP-Muslim)

But the more rural, the more conservative the practice, women more wear hijab.
(RP-Muslim)

Men who wear Arab style dress were those educated in Madrassas here, they are
conservative. (RP-Muslim)

Well hijab is compulsory, compulsory! By the Quran. But niqab it is optional. It


is better , the niqab. In the old days women wore the hijab but it did not cover all
the hair properly. Then Saudis, Egyptians, Libyans, they came, so now women
wear the hijab correctly (made motions to demonstrate complete coverage of the
hair over the front of the brow, no bangs showing) Why is it better? It is more
pious. (RP-Muslim)

So fanatics are conservative and they believe in Jihad (US)

The strict ones? They are orthodox, like orthodox Jews, you know, with the
special garb and so forth. They pray 5 times a day. They you know, study the
Koran. In Indonesia, I mean, they are more religious than in the PI. Except up
by Marawi, they are more strict up there. A lot of women wear the full niqab up
there, especially school girls. (US)

70
Theme: Drivers of Violence

Drivers of JSOTF-P (Christian, Philippines Philippines


Violence Jewish or Agnostic; 19 (Muslim; 8 (Christian;
cases) cases) 3 cases)
Anti-US 1
Sectarian 1
Tribal/Cultural 4 2
Grievances 3 5
Separatism 3 4 2
Religion/Islam 4
inherently
violent
Money 6 3 2
Religion/Islam 10 6 1
Distorted
People are 10 2 2
misled
Defensive 2
Revenge 1 1
Table 9. Count by case of sub-themes related to Drivers of Violence

Table 9 lists the sub-themes related to Drivers of Violence discussed in the interviews,
showing the number of cases in which the sub-themes occurred at least once. This
theme unifies ideas from all of the other themes and presents all the concepts that people
mentioned as contributing to or causing violence in Mindanao. These will present
cultural models that people hold that are key, because an understanding what drives
violence in Mindanao should inform JSOTF-P policies.

71
There are several sub-themes that receive very scant mention: Anti-US, Sectarian
Conflict, Defensive, and Revenge; these shall be briefly summarized. For the American
respondents, the most prevalent sub-themes were the religious drivers, Religion/Islam
inherently violent and Religion/but Islam distorted, and People Mislead. For Muslim
respondents, Islam Distorted was the key sub-theme, followed by Grievances and
Separatism. No Muslim respondent ever made any reference to Islam being an inherently
violent religion, nor did any of the Philippine Christians; this is a belief that may be
shared by members of the task force only. Philippine Christians were sensitized to
Grievances and People Mislead.

Anti-US, Sectarian Conflict, Defensive, and Revenge:


These sub-themes were rare, only one or two mentions each. One US person mentioned
that extremists target US personnel; certainly the environment is dangerous but US
personnel are not involved in combat and JSOTF-P has experienced only 3 combat-
related casualties since 2002. Anti-US sentiment is probably not a significant driver of
violence in Mindanao. One US person mentioned sectarian conflict, but did explain that
sectarian and tribal violence might get confused. The good news about Mindanao is that
sectarian violence is virtually non-existent. Two Philippine Muslims mentioned
defending oneself as a motivation for violence; both quotes related to Tausug and Yakans
defending their areas. Those will be discussed under the sub-theme of tribal/cultural
drivers of conflict. Revenge was mentioned twice, once with respect to cycles of revenge
that need to be stopped and once with respect to tensions between the populace and the
AFP. The “cycles of revenge” do need to be understood and communities need
mechanisms and resources to dismantle them. Mindanao is progressing, slowly; bringing
the MILF to peace talks is a huge step. The unreconcilables—JI, ASG, and various rogue
elements are steadily being arrested or killed and should be much less relevant in the near
to mid-term.

Tribal/Cultural:
Although this sub-theme was only mentioned by about a quarter of the informants, it is
terribly important. The Muslims mention the Tausug and Yakan tribes almost universally

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as first and second on their freelist exercise. The most troubled areas in Mindanao, the
islands of Basilan and Sulu in the Sulu archipelago, are their home territory. The Moros
pride themselves on being the only unconquered peoples in all the history of the
Philippines, and this history is near and dear to them. Every Muslim that I spoke to
wanted to point this out and elaborate on it in great detail, and unfortunately, that was
beyond the scope of this study.

A comprehensive and definitive field study of these peoples should be a priority effort;
due to a very untoward security situation and extreme terrain, this would be extremely
difficult to execute and would require the assistance of the JSOTF-P, PNP and the AFP.
The Tausugs and Yakans are regarded as powerful, politically prominent, having a
warrior ethos, and most likely to be prone to extremism, while the Sama and Badjao are
peaceful:

Of the tribes, the Tausugs would be most likely inclined to extremism, then the
Yakans. (RP-Muslim)

Men: they fight, they protect their area–both Yakans and Tausugs. Men of the
highlands do this and women work. (RP-Muslim)

The Yakan they are hard to understand (made spinning motion of hand around
head) they have a lot going on. (RP-Muslim)

The Tausug: they think themselves royal and on top, they have prestige and a
personality…they have a bloodline. The Koran says that all are equal in the eyes
of God but the Tausug, they feel superior. They have arrogant personalities. But
if you adjust with them, they are good persons. The ones getting education, they
are leveling themselves, but mostly they are hard to talk to. They are easily
angry, hot tempered, but if you get their sympathy…..(you can work with them)
but if you are strangers, they won't deal with you. They have suspicious
personalities. They are impatient. Their local customary practices take priority
over religious considerations. (RP-Muslim)

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But the Badjao are the opposite, the boat people. They are fishing. If there is
trouble, they just leave. They do not really have guns, they do not fight. They are
the same “kind” of Muslim as the Yakan, and Tausug, but mostly do not go to
school. They are “mellows”. The Samal, live near shore in houses on stilts, but
the Badjao are on boats. (RP-Muslim)

There is a cultural-religious link. So the Samal people on Tawi they will tell you
“we are peaceful.” They are friendly and open to outside influence. The Yakan
(Basilan) and Tausugs are warrior types. It is why the government has been
unable to pacify the warrior tribes in the South. The Badjaos, they just keep to
themselves. (US)

Tausugs and Yakans also serve in elected offices and are members of the AFP and PNP.
There were several references to linking lack of education, lack of economic opportunity
and extreme conservatism to isolated rural areas in the archipelago; Basilan is home to
ASG and on Sulu there are camps of ASG, JI, and rogue elements of MNLF and MILF
living and operating together. Families are large and have members everywhere in this
ecology of defacto and de jure governance. Understanding these connections is key to
understanding the cycles of conflict in the archipelago. This person was explaining how
the founding leaders of MNLF and MILF are from two different tribes; one might ask
what sort of connections between them enabled them to collaborate and build this
formidable organization:

“...then Misuari founded the MNLF. With him was Hashim Salamat. Now
Misuari, he is a Tausug and Salamat, he is a Maguindanao, he was born over
where we were yesterday.” (RP-Muslim)

North of the Sulu archipelago, the large island of Mindanao is home to the Maguindanao
and Maranao tribes, and MILF. Muslim respondents explain that the Maguindanao
support MILF, and give hints that the two main tribes of Mindanao do not get along very

74
well; one Maguindanao man mocks the piety of his Maranao neighbors to the north and a
Maguindanao woman is envious that the Maranao business people are more prosperous
than the farmers of her district. These are anecdotes but valuable even so; one ought to
find out as much as possible about the Maguindanao people and why they support the
MILF, to begin with. The, one might want to find out how the Maranao can be very
religiously conservative and yet educated and more prosperous than other conservative
tribes (Tausug and Yakan), and perhaps make a comparison to the more moderate Sama
who number among their members educated professionals on Tawi Tawi Island to the far
south.

So MILF, their support flows from the tribe of Maguindanao, and there are some
Tausug and Maranao who support MILF. (RP-Muslim, a Maguindanao woman)

The Maguindnao ones, they are behind the Maranao and Tausug in schooling.
They don't have money. The Maranao, they are merchants, they have more
money and education....I do not understand why the Maranao are so rich. The
Maguindanao are mostly farmers and they are very proud. (RP-Muslim, a
Maguindanao woman)

Let me tell you about the Maranaos. First of all we Maguindanao, we are kind,
we love to have a big cookout to celebrate and to praise God. The Maranaos,
they love to build mosques (snicker) and they love to pray (mocking tone). But
they are not kind. They are everywhere in the PI, selling things, like the Chinese
people, they never farm. They are very pious, they always were hijab and the
man-dress. They are less friendly to Americans. We, we love Americans. (RP-
Muslim, a Maguindanao man)

Grievances:
Grievances were mentioned in five out of eight of the Muslim interviews, but in only
three of the 19 JSOTF-P interviews; grievances are part of the long history of Mindanao
and ongoing bad governance contributes to the dissatisfaction of the populace and fuels

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support for the militants. Grievances essentially relate to bad governance—lack of
security, weak, corrupt civic institutions, poor infrastructure, lack of economic
development and jobs:

On Sulu, the conflict now is more about the grievances. (RP-Muslim)

Well we have a long history…the Spanish…the US…Marcos, many human rights


violations. There are very old hard feelings left over from Marcos, the
massacres and so forth. So the perception is we are each other's enemies
(Muslims and Christians). (RP-Muslim)

And I want you to understand that we still experience racial discrimination on


part of Christians and the Philippine government. We feel very disrespected,
especially by Christians of Luzon and Visayas–I hate them! (RP-Muslim)

Remember, all Mindanao was all owned by the Bangsamoro people. During the
ILAGA settlers when Marcos had martial law, there were atrocities, rapes,
massacres. The Bolo Battalion was created, the Black Shirts to fight oppressors,
(RP-Muslim)

Well, there is bad governance. When candidates lose an election, the candidates
and followers reject the winners, disagree and fight the new government. The
sitting government, there is lots of abuse, corruption, they have body guards, they
can do anything. If you cross them, they can just kill you, they control
everything. Like the internal revenue allotment money–politicians take it and they
do not get punished. (RP-Muslim)

Some US respondents understand the problem with bad governance:

Muslims in the PI: they believe in their faith, they do not believe in their
bureaucrats. (US)

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Muslim respondents not only wanted to mention the grievances, but to express their
belief that the problems are solvable:

We hope the US helps us strengthen the ARMM, improve governance then the
armed groups will die down. With roads, schools, basic services we can win the
peace in Mindanao (RP-Muslim)

If more education, stop the cycle of revenge, the clan feuds, land disputes,
misunderstandings. Education would mean less extremism, less fundamentalism,
less rebellion. Then with better roads…markets, jobs….(RP-Muslim)

The JSOTF-P directly addresses these underlying factors through its civil-military
operations and has sponsored hundreds of infrastructure development projects; notable
examples include building schools and roads in remote areas. Task force members also
help reform civic institutions; for example, they train police forces in human rights and
criminal justice procedures. Grievances should be assessed district by district in the full
context of the socio-cultural setting and resources prioritized according to the
commander’s overarching objectives addressing every aspect of reforming governance.
Every task force member should be aware of these grievances and how they motivate the
population.

Separatism:
The topic of grievances is inextricably linked to that of the power struggles over
separatism and self-determination for Muslims; half of the Muslim respondents mention
separatism, but only 3 US respondents did. The ongoing peace negotiations with the
MILF involve very contentious issues about the future transition of the ARMM (which is
essentially an MNLF body) to a new governing body, the distribution of wealth (tax
revenue) and the impact on upcoming elections. MILF was originally formed from a
schism with MNLF when the latter negotiated peace in 1996 and was given limited
autonomy and the funds to govern Mindanao through the ARMM. Christian and Muslim
respondents aver that the ARMM is corrupt and only served to enrich MNLF members;

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Christian respondents fear expansion of Muslim governance to Christian-majority areas
such as Zamboanga; billions of pesos of tax revenue are involved:

The ARMM, they are getting all the resources, not helping people. They are
getting rich, like Ampatuan. The poor get poorer and poorer. It is corruption.
We cannot even get travel money to go do our job. The higher up employees can,
not us. (RP-Muslim)

But the MNLF and the MILF, they want Mindanao for themselves. They are
trying–they want this peace process–they want Zamboanga! We voted no locally,
we did not want Zamboanga to be part of ARMM. (RP-Christian)

When the money goes to them, they want power--they do not use the money for
development, they enrich themselves. (RP-Christian)

The cessation of conflict as well as the entire power structure, in other words, is at stake,
and will affect every aspect of the task force mission.47 The struggle now is not just
between MILF and the central government, but between MILF, MNLF, Christian
stakeholders in Mindanao and the central government.

They are really insurgents now, they want their own society and laws here. (US)

They are violent separatist groups, supposedly negotiating for peace but they are
really negotiating deceptively to gain advantage. They want the benefits of being
part of the PI without the responsibility. They want an Islamic state (all the group
do). (US)

So, there are manifold issues driving violence associated with separatism. It is difficult to
parse what the real contribution of religious extremism is to the dynamic from the

47
Carolyn O. Arguillas, "No Agreement yet on Transition; Peace Panels To Refer Issue
to Principals" Davao City MindaNews in English 30 May 12
78
interviews, but competition over power and money is very salient to the locals. Muslim
and Christian respondents repeatedly mentioned power and money; the quotes from US
informants illustrate that some were somewhat cognizant of the separatism theme and its
role in the violence. Next, the sub-theme of money is examined separately.

Money:
“Money” is shorthand for the things people said were wrong with the economic aspect of
governance in Mindanao. Mindanao afflicted with conflict, so it is underdeveloped and
lacks infrastructure and governance is too ineffective and corrupt to create an
environment safe for investment, so there are not enough jobs, so criminality and
extremism flourish—and Mindanao is afflicted with conflict. Money was mentioned by
about one-third of US and Muslim informants, respectively and two of three Philippine
Christians:

There are no jobs (RP-Christian)

The sitting government, there is lots of abuse, corruption, they have body guards,
they can do anything. If you cross them, they can just kill you, they control
everything. Like the internal revenue allotment money–politicians take it and
they do not get punished. (RP-Christian)

People said of the violence: “It is all about money,” and they were referring to the entire
ecology of de facto governance, from the money paid to the VEO’s foot-soldiers, the
money earned from the flourishing “businesses” (the violent criminal enterprises) and the
billions of tax revenue that is controlled by a few political families.

Remember the PI culture is about the haves vs the have nots. (US)

Extremists take advantage of poverty (how insurgencies are fueled) and they
motivate people with money to work for them or they take care of their families.
(US)

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Muslims in the PI: don't know that much about them, seems to me it is more
criminal type activity than jihad, more about earning money than religious
commitment. (US)

They are doing crimes, smuggling, drugs, gun running, and ASG, they are doing
KFR. It is all about money. (RP-Christian)

The Maranao are business people and they may violently protect their business
interests. (RP-Muslim)

Money, then, is salient to all the respondents as a multi-faceted driver of violence.

Religious drivers of violence:


Islam inherently violent/ Islam Distorted/ People are misled
When people spoke of the violence in Mindanao, they expressed beliefs about the role of
religion influencing people to join VEOs, commit terroristic acts or join in the fighting.
Two strands of thought about religious motivation emerged. First, about one-fifth of US
informants (4 of 19) made statements indicating that they believe Islam to be inherently
violent. No Muslims or Philippine Christians made similar statements.

And these fanatics, they could become the violent extremists. Because the sword,
that is pivotal element of their religion. (US)

Islamic teachings were founded in a violently strategic fashion, and those who
regard Islam as peaceful are grossly deceived (US)

Muslims will do what God tells them to do, good or bad. (US)

Second, half of the US cases, three-fourths of the Muslims cases, and one of three
Philippine Christians said basically that that extremists cherry-pick Quranic verses out of

80
context or otherwise falsely interpret the Quran to justify violence; in other words, Islam
is distorted:

So the ones called radical or extremist Muslims are not Muslims, they are simply
radical people. The radicals take parts of the Quran out of context to justify their
deeds. (RP-Muslim)

There is only one Islam; we condemn violence, the un-Islamic activities like
kidnapping for ransom, bombings, hurting children. KFR is a business. They
justify it by their interpretations of the Quran. (RP-Muslim)

The fringe: they are hard core, they interpret the Quran to justify anything. (US)

The radicals, their beliefs are distorted (US)

The “extreme versions” they violate the tenets of Islam, they commit violence on
innocent people on behalf of their religion (US)

Now, when people agreed to be interviewed, they were assured of anonymity, and some
of them clearly felt free to express controversial beliefs. I never witnessed any negative
sentiments about Islam expressed publicly by any member of the task force, and I
observed that their public communications were reviewed very carefully to avoid offense.
Nevertheless, there was apparently a minority of the task force that believed that the
religion is genuinely violent. JSOTF-P leadership must address this during cultural
orientation and continue to be vigilant to ensure that no policies or communications ever
give the least impression that such views are official—it would offend the populace and
give legitimacy to the extremists.

The final aspect to this sub-theme of religion driving violence is what people thought
about why people could be influenced by religious leaders to be violent: that people are
misled. The why is important because influence is fundamental to the purpose of the
JSOTF-P. The narrative is that people who are illiterate, who cannot understand the
Quran for themselves, are easily influenced, especially by charismatic clerics:

81
They have no school, they do not understand. So they follow what he says. They
are easily led, easy to influence by the MILF leaders. (RP-Christian)

They use propaganda to generate sympathy and in the madrassas, they teach
radical, and they speak to crowds. (RP-Muslim)

But due to lack of education, those who are not educated, want the meaning of the
Holy Koran simplified. The illiterate ones, they cannot understand the Koran. It
is hard even for me to understand. So if uneducated, easily convinced to follow
extremist teachings. Clerics can influence people they can be very charismatic
and convincing. (RP-Muslim)

See, most Muslims don't really read the Quran so they go with what people say
is the norm. (US)

A twist on the narrative is that (particularly in rural areas) people are “primitive” or
“unsophisticated” and cannot understand issues. This is a US point of view:

The regular Muslim people are helpless. They are fundamentally primitive.
Their life is about survival, about basic needs. They don't evolve to more
sophistication or have the luxury of entering modern complex society. They are
an easy target for manipulation by outsiders or insiders. But they are more prone
to align with internal movements, influences. When primitive you can't analyze
issues, you don't have the information. You go with the Muslim insider, not the
Manila government. (US)

And there are unsophisticated and illiterate Muslims (e.g., the ones on Basilan).
These ones just follow the local guidance that they receive. They make more
emotion-based choices regarding peace vs. violence. (US)

The theme that people are misled, or influenced wrongly, occurred in half of the US
interviews, and the general theme that education is an antidote to extremism is woven
throughout the interviews and is more salient to the Philippine respondents than the US
ones. This raises two policy concerns. First, to what effect does the JSOTF-P conduct
influence operations in Mindanao, or assist the AFP to conduct effective influence
operations? Second, have school-building efforts had any effect on educational
achievement in Mindanao? These are two questions that merit serious assessment.

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Discussion of Phase I

The large range and diversity of characteristics that people use to discuss Muslims and
Islam in the Philippines describe a very unfamiliar cultural domain with a vastly different
ethnic context than Iraq or Afghanistan. There were several key findings from the free-
list task:
– The data from the free-list task suggests stark differences in point of view
between the different stakeholders in the area–local Muslims view
themselves primarily in terms of their tribal/ethnic identity while JSOTF-P
members view Muslims mainly through the lenses of sectarian orientation,
religious extremism/moderation and violence.
– JSOTF-P members often referred to their experiences in Iraq and
Afghanistan when asked about Muslim culture, rather than experiences in
Mindanao.
– While the locals referred to the five main tribes of Mindanao almost
universally when asked about Muslims in Mindanao, most JSOTF-P
members did not. This means that fundamental information about the
human terrain is not salient to the task force members. Note: many
members of the JSOTF-P are from non-SOF background, and may not
have Asia-specific cultural expertise. Members of the 1st Special Forces
Group do have specific cultural knowledge of the Philippines; this group
has provided personnel and leadership to JSOTF-P since its inception.
These SOF individuals did make specific mention of the tribes.
– Policy recommendation: Provide cultural training to members upon
arrival; invite members of the populace to teach

The thematic analysis of the interviews provided extensive content about Muslims and
Islam in the Philippines, and revealed that who qualifies as a religious extremist, who is a
militant (or even if those are really different things) and who may primarily be criminal is
not so easily distinguished in the Philippines. Religion, power, money, grievances and

83
violence are not to be so neatly divided, and these elements appear throughout the
interviews in complicated relationships—an ecology, if you will.

The VEOs are part of an ecology of de facto governance, which competes with or
substitutes for de jure governance. In Mindanao, weak legitimate governance means that
security is privatized by the wealthy and rule of law is suborned by money, connections
and by rule of private armed power. A few elite families control most of the wealth and
elected positions; members of the elected government themselves use and manipulate
both the official and unofficial elements of governance.

There are those who believe that people join these groups to earn money, as jobs are
scarce, and then become trapped. This is another aspect of the VEO ecology—that their
activities provide employment and income—the de facto economic aspect of
governance—in the absence of a healthy economy. The subject of governance merits its
own very detailed study; this dissertation can only begin to uncover the signposts of what
might be valuable to study first:
 It would be enormously helpful to conduct formal social network
analysis (SNA) of the VEOs, families and tribal groups. AFP and
PNP officers48 were keenly interested in network analysis; they had
painstakingly developed knowledge of the people and VEOs but had
very limited ability to create electronic databases and had no
experience with SNA software tools. This would be an excellent goal
for future capacity-building with our partners.
 The issue of corruption, in the sense of an impenetrable political
ecology where, in the de facto governance, the elected government and
the VEOs may have family, clan or tribal ties, merits very careful
attention. However, the cooperation of local officials is critical and
could be derailed with the wrong approach. The linkages of people,
groups, and political offices would benefit from detailed analysis
including SNA.

48
Author interviews with AFP and PNP officers June, 2011
84
 It would be useful to determine if respondent references to foreign
clerics radicalizing in the hinterland have any basis in fact, and if so,
determine who they are and how they are supported.
 The JSOTF-P directly addresses grievances underlying militancy
through its civil-military operations and has sponsored hundreds of
infrastructure development projects; notable examples include building
schools and roads in remote areas. Task force members also help
reform civic institutions; for example, they train police forces in
human rights and criminal justice procedures.
o Policy Recommendation: Grievances should be assessed
district by district in the full context of the socio-cultural
setting and resources prioritized according to the commander’s
overarching objectives addressing every aspect of reforming
governance. Every task force member should be aware of
these grievances and how they motivate the population.

Different stakeholders hold different cultural models on key themes, particularly with
respect to extremism and moderation. People will filter information according to their
personal cultural models, so different groups may receive policy messages in different
ways. This can skew support for policies for irrelevant reasons if policy maker does not
have an idea of their own or other people’s cultural models. In particular, command
messaging and influence operations may go awry because of an imperfect understanding
of the target audience. Here are cultural models discovered in the interviews:

Devoutness is linked to fundamentalism and fundamentalism to violent extremism by


Americans. Some US respondents used the term “devout” when expressing beliefs that
Islam is inherently violent. Muslim respondents do use the term “fundamentalism” when
referring to extremism but the term “devout.”

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 Policy recommendation: The belief that Islam is inherently violent would be
deeply offensive to Muslims; JSOTF-P leadership should address this during
command orientation.

A link between lack of education, inability to develop, and violence reappears throughout
the interviews, mainly from Philippine respondents:
 There are two important senses of what it means to not be an extremist in the
Philippines: one is in the “middle” as in the political center, or one is in the
middle of conflict and “in-between” dangerous factions and other influences, and
therefore vulnerable. Muslim respondents linked education to this sense of
moderation, and they linked lack of education to inability to understand the
Quran, to believing radical interpretations of the Quran, and then to violent
extremism.
 Muslims associate education with being peace-loving, reinforcing the idea of
educated people being in the “middle” and illiterates tending to extremism.
 Policy recommendations:
 Rigorously investigate the links between lack of education and violence to
inform policy

US respondents tended to frame moderation as a sense of normal-ness from their Western


point of view and as an attribute of the majority of the populace; they tend to mirror-
image, in other words. On the other hand, the Muslim respondents, who regard
themselves as the regular folk, describe what it means to be “normal”—i.e., peace-loving,
in the “middle” or “in-between” and to enjoy and embrace democratic civil rights.
 Policy recommendation: Task force members may assume that other people are
“like them,” in a kindly manner; but this habit could skew their appreciation of
the environment. Train the force to be more objective when they assess the
populace.
JSOTF-P members say they believe that the populace is mostly moderate or at least non-
militant but they may support the violent extremists.

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 Policy recommendation: Assess populace on this topic district by district to
discern what or who they support; this will clarify deleterious influences and
grievances

The theme that people are misled, or influenced wrongly to joint extremist groups
occurred in half of the US interviews. This raises the question, to what effect does the
JSOTF-P conduct influence operations in Mindanao, or assist the AFP to conduct
effective influence operations?
 Policy recommendation: Comprehensive study to assess measures of
effectiveness for influence operations

The language used by the task force is of utmost importance. Language mistakes could
render engagement and influence activities ineffective, whereas effective use of language
is more likely to resonate with the populace. Analysis of the interviews revealed that
there is particular language that may fail to resonate with, or even offend the populace,
particularly Muslims, and there is language that might be useful to use in command
communications:
– The sense that terroristic violence is a “grave offense” before the eyes of
God is a critical message, but probably best voiced by local leadership
rather than JSOTF-P messaging to be deemed authentic and sincere
– Fighting: The concept of “fighting” for worthwhile causes would appear to
have great resonance with the Muslim populace in the sense of its
legitimacy and with the entire populace with respect to its terrible impact
of lives and livelihoods destroyed. It would be more effective for
JSOTF-P messaging to address the specific, core theme of fighting both as
a cultural heritage and as legitimate resistance, rather than violence in
general.
– Rogue-Renegade-Lawless: It might be appropriate and useful to use this
kind of language to reinforce encourage lawful and moderate behavior on
the part of the MNLD and MILF, and/or to challenge any assertions they

87
may attempt to make that they cannot be held accountable for the violence
of their so-called “rogue” elements.
– No Muslim respondents used the term “fanatic,” and it might offend the
populace if it were used in any messaging; fanaticism connotes a rabid
craziness that may make people feel defensive.
– “Radical” seems to be a preferred vernacular and would likely resonate
with the populace if used in communications
– Extremist: This term is used by about half of the JSOTF-P and Muslim
respondents. In these cynical remarks, frustration is evident; extremism
has no positive attribute; it is linked intolerance, to corruption, power and
abuse of the populace; extremists may have grievances but they also create
grievances. This suggests that the term may be carefully used to
delegitimize VEOs without offending the sensibilities of the locals.
– Moderate: Some Muslims find the term “moderate” offensive because it
insinuates that one should be less of a Muslim to not be an extremist; this
term was not used frequently any Philippine respondents. The term may
be a liability to use in public messaging; that issue deserves careful
consideration.
– “Peace-loving” might be a more effective phrase to use in task force
communications because it has a more positive, hopeful sense than “non-
violent” and because it is an indigenous vernacular. However, one
problem with the term is this: being peace-loving is not very prestigious;
the dominant tribes (Tausug and Yakan) are said to have a warrior ethos
and that they look down on the peace-loving Samal and Badjao. So, the
term may resonate with some communities but not with others; this should
be investigated.

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Chapter 3: Phase II, Cultural Consensus Analysis

Measurement: Quantifying Shared Knowledge


In this phase, quantitative anthropological methods are used to explore the similarity or
dissimilarity of the cultural knowledge of different policy stakeholders to determine
whether or not different groups hold similar or different beliefs about Muslims and Islam
in the Philippines. We are empirically testing if the level of agreement between
stakeholders rises to the level where it can be defined as a single shared culture. Our
hypothesis is that there is no single consensus—JSOTF-P members have different
conceptions of Islam than their partners and the populace.

How Cultural Consensus Models Work


Cultural consensus modeling was developed in the late 1980’s by A. Kimball Romney,
Susan C. Weller and William H. Batchelder. (Romney, Weller et al. 1986) It is a formal
mathematical model for the analysis of informant consensus on structured interview data
and it produces three useful results:
 a measure of the degree of agreement among informants about a domain of
knowledge, belief, or practice;
 the “culturally correct” information about that domain according to the pooled
answers of the informants; and
 a score for each informant representing that person’s knowledge of the domain, or
cultural competence (Caulkins and Hyatt 1999)
Unlike psychometric testing, where the researcher has the answer key, this method was
developed for anthropologists studying a new culture who may not know either the
cultural competence of their informants nor the correct answers to their questions. The
culturally correct “answer key” is estimated from the responses.
The model has three key assumptions:
1. Common Truth: There is one right answer for every question.

89
 This relates to the kinds of respondent variability that may exist; in this model,
there are two sources of variance in the responses: culture and the competence of
the respondent.

2. Local Independence. Person’s responses are independent (across persons and


questions), conditional on the truth. If a person does not know the answer, he/she guesses
randomly among the available choices.

 This assumption specifies that the only reason people give the same answers is the
underlying factor of cultural truth. When people answer incorrectly, their answers
are not correlated with each other. 49

3. Item Homogeneity. All questions are on the same topic, about which a given person
has a fixed level of knowledge.

In this research, respondents were given or true-false questions, and if the respondent did
not know the answer, it is assumed that he or she guessed without bias. The fraction of
questions for which two respondents agree, Mij is then calculated with correction for
guessing. For the true-false questionnaire, if the probability that person i answers
correctly is di, the respondents i and j will agree in these four cases:

Case Probability
They both know the answer: didj

Person i knows the answer and person j guesses di(1-dj)/2


right:
Person j knows the answer and person i guesses dj(1-di)/2
right:
Neither knows, both guess the same: (1-di)(1-dj)/2

49
Stephen P. Borgatti and Daniel S. Halgin, Consensus Analysis (from Borgatti’s
website at http://www.steveborgatti.com/papers/BHConsensus.pdf)
90
And, the fraction of questions for which the two respondents agree, corrected for
guessing, is the sum of the four cases, which reduces to:

Mij = didj + (1 - didj) /2

So, the agreement between respondents is shown to depend on their individual


competencies. The matrix of observed responses is used to calculate the actual Mij
correlation matrix. The values of di are then estimated by minimum-residual factor
analysis of Mij. Then each informant’s input is weighted by competency and the
responses aggregated to estimate the most likely answers to the questionnaire.

The model assumes a single underlying factor or culturally correct “answer key” for each
set of informants tested, and signals when this assumption does not hold: if the ratio of
the first and second eigenvalues is less than 3, the assumption is indefensible because the
single factor does not account for sufficient variance. When the assumptions are violated
the values of the di cannot be seen as competence because other factors may be
accounting for inter-informant variability; in other words, there is more than one
underlying culture. In our case, the key research question is whether the informants
belong to a single culture or not, and this can be diagnosed by examining the pattern of
eigenvalues. The assumptions of the model do not need to hold in order to make this
diagnosis.

Here is an intuitive explanation of how the model works. Suppose, for example, there
were a questionnaire about dogs, and there were informants with varying degrees of
knowledge about dogs. The model expects that dog owners would agree more amongst
themselves as to the answers than would non-dog owners; dog owners would tend to have
higher competency scores (di) than non-dog owners. The model estimates of the answer
key, or culturally correct answers, would be weighted towards the answers of the dog
owners. However, if among the respondents there were more than one “dog culture,” –
say, some were from the US and some were from England, then they might have

91
differing beliefs about dog breed standards, care, grooming, and the like. So, in the US,
for example, it would be considered correct to dock the ears and tails of certain breeds
and in the UK, it would be considered improper. In the case where there is significant
divergence of beliefs, or lack of consensus, the model would signal the presence of more
than one culture with a first-to-second eigenvalue ratio less than three.

How this Model is Applied


Anthropologists use the model in ethnography when they do not know the correct
answers to their questions, or who among their informants is the most knowledgeable.
(In this research, we are very interested in the culturally correct answers to the questions,
but will not use the information on respondent competence; we will not have any
opportunity to re-interview any of the respondents.)

An important application for anthropological research is that the model “signals” when
the key assumption of a socially shared information pool does not hold (A. Kimball
Romney 1987). If different informants’ answer differently, it means cultural knowledge
varies in structure or content between the informants.

The model has been used extensively in health studies; for example, Maria Swora used it
to compare differences in sexual risk perception between men and women (Swora 2003).
Chavez, et al, discovered that differing cultural models of risk factors for cancer, and
differing cultural beliefs about normative and non-normative sexual behavior were
associated with differences in the use of cervical cancer-screening tests among Latina
women (Chavez, McMullin et al. 2001). The authors showed that both beliefs and
ethnographic methods for studying beliefs are important. Another exemplar of this type
of analysis is Boster and Johnson’s study of novice and experts’ sorting of fish. Cultural
consensus analysis illuminated not only the differences between novices and experts, but
differentiated regional subcultures of fishing experts as well.(Boster and Johnson 1989)
Environmental anthropologists have also found cultural consensus models useful. Miller,
et al studied differences in understanding of ocean fisheries management between
scientists and indigenous fishermen to learn how to incorporate aspects of culture in

92
environmental policies.(Marc L. Miller 2004) The study of folk biology in which
novices and experts sorted pictures of fishes revealed that the two groups used different
mental models in making their judgments.(Boster and Johnson 1989) When groups
sorted fish in similar ways, they often did so for different reasons; one reason is that
experts were found to understand the interrelations between the functional attributes of
fish and novices did not.

In their study of environmentalism in America, Kempton et al compared the beliefs about


the environment and values of groups that would be expected to differ greatly: the lay
public, Sierra Club members, Earth First members, sawmill workers and dry cleaners
operators.(Kempton, Boster et al. 1996) Informants were asked to agree or disagree with
159 statements about the environment. The study found surprisingly broad consensus
about environmentalism across all the groups, illustrating quite a few widely shared
beliefs and values. Significant disagreements were also found, and to document the
nature of those differences the authored compared the responses in detail. This revealed
differences in values and different beliefs about environmental models. This
understanding about values and beliefs of different groups is valuable in when
communicating and seeking support for policies. The authors discovered, for example,
that many people have serious misunderstandings about global environmental issues
which can skew support for policies for irrelevant reasons.

This exploration of the diversity of environmental values also provides a cautionary


lesson about making assumptions about what certain groups believe. The Earth First
members, known to be willing to take extreme measures and portrayed by the media as
radical, were found to largely hold mainstream beliefs about the environment; they
differed from others mainly in their willingness to make personal sacrifices for their
beliefs. Sawmill workers showed far less opposition to environmental policies than
expected. And Sierra Club members, thought to be “moderates” on environmental
matters, displayed more divergence in beliefs than the other groups.

93
In this dissertation, cultural consensus modeling will be used to show quantitatively to
what degree different groups share the same model of what it means to be a Muslim in
the Philippines.

Phase II Sampling Strategy:


While traditional test theory begins with performance data, with individual items coded
correct or incorrect, cultural consensus theory begins with response data—items coded or
sorted by the informant with no assumptions about whether the informant is correct. The
model first estimates individual competencies (reliability) and then estimates the answer
key and the confidence in each answer (Weller 2007). The correct answers are
statistically inferred from the responses of the informants (corrected for guessing).
The Spearman-Brown Prophesy Formula was developed in 1910 to calculate the item
reliability for tests where the correct answers to questions are known (Weller and
Romney 1988). For item reliability, the assumption is that correlation between two items
is the product of their individual correlations with the underlying trait or ability. As
Weller (Weller 1987) and Handwerker (Handwerker 1997) discuss, the Spearman-Brown
Prophesy formula can be applied to respondents rather than items. In ethnographic
studies, where the answers are not known, the central assumption of this method is that
the correspondence between any two respondents is a function of the extent to which
each has knowledge of the culturally correct answers (Weller 2007). So, we calculate the
reliability (also called cultural competence) of informants, rather than the test items. This
reliability, rkk, is calculated from the average intercorrelation among respondents, r ij and
the number of respondents, k:

k * r ij
rkk 
1  r ij k  1

The square root of the reliability coefficient estimates the validity of the aggregated
responses, or the correlation between the culturally correct answers and the empirically
obtained answers. So, to calculate the sample size required for a study, k, the researcher

94
assumes a level of reliability for the informants and sets the level of validity (proportion
of items classified correctly) and confidence level. As the number of respondents
increases, and/or their agreement increases, the reliability and validity of their aggregated
responses increases.

The model achieves statistically significant results with surprisingly small sample sizes
and is practical for anthropologists who sometimes deal with very small samples of
informants. The minimum number of informants needed to describe a cultural domain is
a function of the factors in the Spearman-Brown Prophesy Formula. First, the higher the
average competence of the sample, the smaller the sample needed. Second, the higher
the confidence level is set, the more informants are needed. Third, the proportion of
questions one wants to decisively classify affects the number of informants needed
(larger =more informants). From Table 3, we see that 9 informants with a mean
competence of 0.7 in response to a true-false questionnaire have at least a 0.95
probability of correctly classifying each question with a confidence level of at least 0.99.
For this study, we estimate cultural competency conservatively at only 50% and require
0.95 validity, as recommended by Weller (Weller 2007). For a .99 confidence level, we
need a sample size of at least 23 for each sub-group (e.g., JSOTF-P, Christians, Muslims,
AFP members, PNP members).

95
PROPORTION OF ITEMS CLASSIFIED CORRECTLY
AT 0.99 CONFIDENCE LEVEL
Cultural 0.80 0.85 0.90 0.95 0.99
Competency

0.50 15 15 21 23 >30
0.60 10 10 12 14 20
0.70 5 7 7 9 13
0.80 4 5 5 7 8
0.90 4 4 4 4 6

Table 10. Sample Size and Validity Estimates. Cultural Consensus Modeling requires
surprisingly small samples.

Phase II Data collection


We used the information obtained in Phase I, where informants free-listed “kinds” of
Muslims and provided the attributes of these kinds of Muslims to create a test instrument.
The instrument is a questionnaire with 39 dichotomous responses; respondents were
asked to agree or disagree with the statements. The questionnaire is available in
Appendix 1.

Phase II Sampling
To sample DOD members, I asked members of the JSOTF-P to fill out the questionnaire.
Members of the AFP who were posted to WESMINCOM participated, as did members of
the PNP working in the Sulu archipelago (islands of Sulu and Basilan). Law students
from Western Mindanao University in Zamboanga participated, as did other civilians
living and working on WESMINCOM base. Fourteen of the JSOTF-P members self-

96
designated as Christians, 2 were Jewish, 6 listed “None” for religion and 9 listed “Other.”
The Philippine respondents were mix of Christians (53), Muslim (79), with 15 leaving
religion blank, one answering “None” and one answering “Other.” Table 4 represents the
Phase II sample.

Nationality/Religion Christian Jewish Muslim Other None Blank Total


US (JSOTF‐P) 14 2 0 9 6 0 31
Philippines
AFP 29 0 23 0 0 2 54
PNP 12 0 32 0 0 3 47
Civilian 12 0 24 1 1 10 48
Philippines Total 53 0 79 1 1 15 149
Grand Totals 67 2 79 11 8 30 180
Table 11. Phase II sampling.

97
Phase II Data Analysis
A software package written for anthropologists (UCINET)50 was used to calculate the
degree of consensus among the informants. An informant-by-informant matrix of the
proportion of answer matches between informants, corrected for chance guessing, is
created. The matrix represents a system of equations which is solved by minimum
residual factor analysis.

The researcher knows whether or not the informants have consensus by examining the
factor structure. If the matrix has a single factor structure, a single underlying
competence accounts for all the structure in the matrix other than sampling variability.
The rule of thumb is that the eigenvalue for the first factor is at three times as large as the
next. Also, the first factor has all positive values and must account for more than 50% of
the variance in the model, and all other factors are relatively small and diminishing
slowly. If these conditions are not met, then more than one underlying competence, or
culture, has been tested—the model signals the lack of consensus (Romney, Weller et al.
1986).

UCINET also computes a measure of cultural knowledge for each informant, indicating
how closely they agreed with the consensus of the other informants. The software reports
the “answer key” or culturally central ordering of the elements. If the domain is not
coherent, i.e. there is no single consensus, the data can be subset according to the
different groups or even social variables to search for groupings showing consensus.

Consensus Model Results


The results of consensus modeling are shown in Table 12. Respondents who left 10% or
more of the questions blank were excluded, reducing the population from n = 180 to n =
161; then, any remaining blank responses were replaced with randomly generated

50
Borgatti, S.P., Everett, M.G. and Freeman, L.C. 2002. UCINET for Windows:
Software for Social Network Analysis. Harvard, MA: Analytic Technologies.

98
answers to simulate guessing.51 Note that when the model signals consensus, it also
returns the fraction of the questions correctly classified at a .99 confidence level. The
model indicated consensus for the JSOTF-P, the PNP (all), Muslims (all), Muslims
(civilians), and Muslims (PNP members), respectively.

Table 12 shows that we have a confidence level of 0.99 that the JSOTF-P consensus
answers are 90% correct with respect to the beliefs of the JSOTF-P members; the
variance is due to intra-cultural variation and differing levels of knowledge (cultural
competence). The JSOTF-P “answer key” does differ from that of other groups,
reflecting inter-cultural variation. Similarly, the PNP classified 90% of their answers at a
0.99 confidence level; as did Muslim PNP members; for all Muslim respondents
combined and Muslim civilians, we have a confidence level of 0.99 that their respective
consensus answers are 95% correct.

The model signaled that there is no overall consensus in the total research population,
which we know is a mix of several cultures—US and Philippine nationalities, military,
police and civilians, both Christians and Muslims, and multiple ethnicities. We cannot
discern, however, where consensus may exist from the overall sample; we examine sub-
groups to see if any of them exhibit consensus.

When tested on members of the JSOTF-P only, the model does signal consensus; the task
force members do have a shared understanding of the culture, even though they are from
all over the United States and are members of all the four services. This could mean they
received similar cultural orientation training for the assignment, or perhaps achieved
similar viewpoints from shared experiences on this or other deployments.
When tested on Philippine nationals only, the model again signals lack of consensus.
This is a multi-cultural population from all over the Philippines, is a mix of military,
police and civilians, contains both Christians and Muslims, and contains multiple

51
Acceptable procedure; Susan C. Weller, “Cultural Consensus Theory: Applications
and Frequently Asked Questions,” Field Methods 2007 19: 339

99
ethnicities. When Filipinos are split into Christian and Muslim sub-groups, Muslims
show consensus amongst themselves, and Christians do not—even when split out by
gender, by education, or by service in the AFP (other splits were not possible due to
insufficient sample size).

That Muslims agree amongst each other about their own culture is to be expected, but it
is very interesting that Filipino Christians apparently embrace divergent views about
Muslim culture. This may be because some of the Christians are from Mindanao, and are
very familiar with their Muslim neighbors, while some of them are from other parts of the
country. To a person in Manila, Mindanao is an unfamiliar and remote place.52
The model indicates that members of the Philippine’s armed forces (AFP) do not share
consensus, while members of the national police (PNP) do. The AFP members are from
all parts of the country, and are both Christian and Muslim. PNP members tend to serve
in their own communities, and this sample of PNP individuals was mostly from the Sulu
Archipelago and more than two-thirds Muslim. This is very interesting; this indicates
that our PNP partners in Mindanao may be regarded as cultural experts, but our AFP
partners may not be.

52
Author’s discussions with people in Manila. People who are not from Mindanao
generally expressed a sense of puzzlement about Mindanao and were dismissive of the
people and doings of that province.
100
Respondents Eigenvalue Cultural Fraction of Questions
Ratio Consensus? Correctly Classified at
0.99 confidence
All (n= 161) 2.4 NOT SUPPORTED N/A

JSOTF-P (n= 28) 3.5 YES 0.90

RP All (n= 133) 2.8 NOT SUPPORTED N/A

RP AFP (n=51) 1.99 NOT SUPPORTED N/A

RP PNP (n=38) 3.3 YES 0.90

RP Christians -- All 1.4 NOT SUPPORTED N/A


(n=46)
RP Christians – Men 1.2 NOT SUPPORTED N/A
(n=40)
RP Christians – 1.3 NOT SUPPORTED N/A
College+ (n=37)
RP Christians – AFP 2.1 NOT SUPPORTED N/A
(n=26)
RP Muslims (n=73) 3.7 YES 0.95

RP Muslims -- 3.6 YES 0.95


civilians (n = 23)
RP Muslims -- AFP 2.1 NOT SUPPORTED N/A
(n=23)
RP Muslims – PNP 3.1 YES 0.90
(n=27)
Table 12. Results of Cultural Consensus Model.

The model returns a “culturally correct” answer key for each group that shares consensus.
We can compare the consensus answers of the JSOTF-P members to that of the Muslim
respondents. Table 8 in Appendix 9 refers to 14 of 39 items (36%) for which the two
groups provide different consensus answers; the task force and the Muslim respondents

101
did share consensus on 25 of 39 (64%) items shown in Table 9 in Appendix 9. The
difficulty is in discerning any structure in the two tables to understand patterns of
agreement or disagreement; with dozens of informants and 39 questions, that is a large
multivariate problem. We next turn to Principal Components Analysis as an exploratory
technique to find the underlying structure in the questionnaire responses.

Principal Components Analysis (PCA)


Principal Components Analysis (PCA) belongs to a class of multivariate statistical
methods whose primary purpose is to define the underlying structure in a data matrix.
We will use it as an exploratory technique to analyze the structure of correlation among a
large number of variables by finding a set of underlying dimensions, called component
factors. Unlike the cultural consensus model, in which we assume that a single
underlying factor, culture, accounts for most of the variance in the responses, it is not
necessary to make any a priori assumptions on the estimation of the components or the
number of components to be extracted to account for variance. The analyst examines the
solution and determines how many factors to use and assesses the significance and
overall fit of the factors.

However, the basic assumption that some underlying structure exists requires that the
correlation matrix of the responses have a substantial number of correlations greater than
0.30.53 Also, the sample should not contain heterogeneous sub-samples, because the
resulting correlations may not reflect the structures of each group. Separate factor
analyses should be performed and the results compared. In our case, we will separately
analyze JSOTF-P, Philippine Muslims, and Philippine Christians. The JSTOF-P and
Muslims displayed consensus amongst themselves so should be suitable for separate
PCA. The Philippine Christians did not have consensus, but we will scrutinize the
correlation matrix to be sure the sub-sample has sufficient homogeneity.

53
Joseph E. Hair, Jr., et al, Multivariate Data Analysis with Readings, Fourth Edition,
Prentice Hall, 1995
102
How PCA works:
PCA transforms a set of correlated variables, xi, into a much smaller set of uncorrelated
components, yi; this much smaller set of variables, called principal components, is easier
to interpret than the original data. The p components are weighted sums of the xi, and the
aij are the weights, called component loadings; the system of equations is:

yi = a1ix1 + a2ix2 + .... + apixp

The first component, y1, accounts for the maximum possible of the total variance, y2 for
the maximum possible of the remaining variance, and so on. This distribution of the
largest part of the variance onto the first component is achieved by orthogonal rotation of
the variables axes, (the axes are kept at 90 degrees to one another). The goal of rotation is
to clarify the data structure; orthogonal rotation is used for convenience of interpretation
because it produces factors that are uncorrelated.54 Total variance consists of common
variance, specific variance and error. Common variance is that variance in a variable
shared with all the other variables; specific variance is that associate with a particular
variable, and error is the variance due to unreliability of the data gathering process,
measurement error, or some random component in the construct being measured.

The first principal component is in the direction of greatest variance because orthogonal
rotation is constrained to minimize the sum of squared perpendicular distances from the
observations to the first component. The variance distributed to the second and remaining
components is thus fixed; the total variance in the data is accounted for by the full set of
principal components. Typically, the first few components account for sufficient variance
that the remaining components can be discarded without too great a loss of information;
these higher components carry more specific and error variance than the lower
components. This decision of which components to retain is made on a case-by case
basis by the analyst following procedures to be described below. The first principal

54
Oblique rotation produces components that are correlated, and arguably this method
results in less loss of information. Because the tool is used here in an exploratory
manner, it was decided orthogonal rotation could be used without substantively error.
103
component is the best one-dimensional summary of the data that can be made, and the
first two principal components provide the best two-dimensional summary of the data. 55

The constraints on orthogonal rotation are that the relative positions of the data points
remain unchanged, and the total variance remains unchanged. Mathematically, solving
for the aij is equivalent to finding the eigenvectors and eigenvalues of the matrix for the
set of equations for the components, yi; the matrix of xij is the correlation matrix of the
responses. Standard algorithms are available to determine the eigenvector and
eigenvalues (the weights aij and the variances). The proportion of total variance explained
by each component is conveniently returned by the algorithm.

PCA modeling procedures:


In this study, the correlated variables are the responses to the same questionnaire that
was used for cultural consensus modeling; the purpose is to find questions that are similar
to each other, then compare the sub-samples’ responses on the similar questions.56 The
following procedures were recommended in the text by Joseph Hair, et al.57 An item-by-
item correlation matrix for each sub-group is computed from the questionnaire responses
using simple matching; each matrix is inspected to ensure sufficient correlation is present
in the responses.58 Then, an un-rotated factor matrix is computed to examine the variance
and determine how many components to retain in the rotated solution. This is
accomplished by examining a scree plot of the eigenvalues vs. the number of
components; plots typically fall rapidly from the first eigenvalue. Analysts often retain
factors just at the elbow because the amount of variance explained decreases rapidly with
the number of factors.

55
David J. Bartholomew, et al, The Analysis and Interpretation of Multivariate Data for
Social Scientists, Chapman and Hall, 2002
56
This is an R-type factor analysis; a Q-type factor analysis on the person correlation
matrix would be used to identify similar individuals.
57
Joseph E. Hair, et al, op cit.
58
PCA was accomplished on the entire data set, and as expected, did not yield useful
results.
104
Next, the rotated PCA is calculated to obtain the uncorrelated components. There are
several algorithms available; the Hair text recommended VARIMAX to obtain the
clearest separation of the components, and that is provided by the UCINET software
package.59,60 The software returns the component loadings which are the correlations of
the component with each variable (each question in the questionnaire) the eigenvalues,
and cumulative variance accounted for by successive factors. The next step is to
examine the component loadings and determine which are statistically and practically
significant. Finally, the variables with the highest significant loadings are examined to
understand the meaning of the component. This is an intuitive and subjective
interpretation process; different analysts would probably give different names to the same
components, as might the reader.

The question of which component loadings are significant is addressed statistically and
practically. The rule of thumb is that the larger the absolute value of the loading, the
more important it is in interpreting the meaning of the factor; the squared loading is the
amount of the variables’ total variance accounted for by the component. Loadings of 0.5
may be considered of practical significance; those carry 25% of variance. To be
somewhat more conservative, one may take sample size into account; Table 13 is from
Hair, et al.61 The sample size needed is based on a 0.05 significance level, a power level
of 80%, and standard errors twice those of conventional correlation coefficients. The
larger the sample size, the lower the loading that may be considered. We shall use this
table as a starting point for considering component loadings; variable with lower loadings
may be considered during the interpretation process. Finally, more specific and error
variance appears in higher components, so to be conservative, loadings for higher
components should be larger to be considered significant.

59
Varimax maximizes the sum of variances of the required loadings of the component
matrix. In this approach, there tend to be high loadings (close to + 1 or -1) to clearly
indicate variable-component correlations, and loadings near 0 to indicate lack of
association.
60
Borgatti, S.P., Everett, M.G. and Freeman, L.C. 2002. UCINET for Windows:
Software for Social Network Analysis. Harvard, MA: Analytic Technologies.
61
Hair, et al, p 385.
105
Component Loading Sample Size Needed
0.50 120
0.55 100
0.60 85
0.65 70
0.70 60
0.75 50

Table 13. Guidelines for identifying Significant Factor Loadings

PCA Results and Interpretation


PCA for the Philippine Muslims shall be our baseline for comparison, since they are the
cultural experts. Their “answer key” or culturally correct answers from cultural
consensus modeling shall be compared to that of the JSOTF-P. The Philippine Christians
did not have cultural consensus, so there is no “answer key” for them; instead we use
their response data and find the answers that the majority of respondents chose as a
reasonable approximation to consensus. In all three cases, two components were retained
after examining the respective eigenvalue scree plots.

PCA of Muslim Respondents.


Figure 6 is a scatterplot of the all the factor loadings for the first and second components
for Muslim respondents; both components correlate positively with the variables. The
eigenvalue scree plot is inset; the scree plot shows a sharp drop in eigenvalue from the
first to the second component; hence the decision to retain two components. Table 14
shows the variance apportioned to the first three components; the first two account for
68%. The variables in Component 3 were examined, but were not found to contribute
practically to understanding the structure.

Percent 
Component  Eigenvalues  Variance CUM % 
1  21.9  56.0 56.0 
2  4.8  12.3 68.4 
3  1.4  3.5 71.9 
 
Table 14. Variance apportioned to first three components for Muslim respondents.

106
Sca�erplot  of  First  Two  PCA  Component  Loadings  
 (RP-­‐Muslim)  
Component 2 Component 2: Rejecting 1  
Extremist Stereotypes
0.8  
0.6  
0.4  
0.2  
0  
-­‐1   -­‐0.8   -­‐0.6   -­‐0.4   -­‐0.2   0   0.2   0.4   0.6   0.8   1  
-­‐0.2  
-­‐0.4   Component 1: Peaceful,
Legitimate, but Troubled
-­‐0.6   (Our Story)
-­‐0.8  
Component 1
-­‐1  

Figure 6. Scatterplot of First Two PCA Component Loadings for Muslim Respondents

Labels at the ends of each component in Figure 6 indicate the interpretation of the
extreme values of the component scores, which shall be explained next. Table X shows
the variables (questions) with the most significant loadings and the sub-groups’ answers
to the questions (1 = agree, 0 = disagree). In this case, n= 79, so loadings greater than
0.65 were considered most significant.

The questions in Component 1 are mostly to do with whether or not the Muslim populace
is militant, whether separatist groups are extremist, and even whether or not Islam is
inherently violent. Other questions that correlated with this component include ones
about conservative dress, which relate to how normal it is for Muslim ladies to cover their
head, for example (conservative dress is thought by some to signal radicalism). Based on
the Muslim consensus answers, this component is named Peaceful, Legitimate but
Troubled (Our Story). The respondents are expressing elements of the story they tell
themselves about themselves--affirming that they are not radical or extremist, that their
religion is not violent or terroristic, and that separatist groups, although militant, are not
extremist or criminal. Criminal, terroristic acts are committed by rogue, lawless
elements. The majority of Philippine Christian responses are the same as the Muslims’;
they differed on one question to do with the practices of a particular tribe. JSOTF-P
members disagreed on 4 of 17 questions, they share consensus that Islam is not peaceful,
that the separatist groups MNLF and MILF are extremists and do endanger the populace,

107
and that conservative dress for women is not considered mandatory, or normal. This
disparity in viewpoints, first seen in qualitative analysis of the semi-structured interviews
and now quantified, is very important for the task force to be aware of and to manage
properly. Conversely, our Muslim partners in the military, law enforcement and
community leaders should be aware of how others perceive them.

The second component was named Rejecting Extremist Stereotypes, because the
questions are related to things people said about radicalism, for example that there are
foreign radicals going about wearing skull-caps and man-dresses62 and they are teaching
in the madrassas, that women who dress ultra-conservatively are probably
fundamentalists, which is code for “extremist,” and that people join militant groups
because they are radicalized. These items were completely rejected by a consensus of
Muslim respondents; JSOTF-P members and Philippine Christians differed from
Muslims only on one questions, both agreeing that foreign clerics are radicalizing in the
mosques. Some Muslim respondents did mention this problem of radicalization in the
interviews, so perhaps awareness of it varies by one’s experience. The madrassas are
schools where boys are taught Arabic and the Quran; they are considered a normal part of
education for those who can afford it, according some Muslim informants. Certainly the
issue would need to be addressed as a matter of good governance to mitigate radicalizing
influences.

62
This is a common item of wear in the Middle East and is called the dish-dash-ah in
Arabic; the soldiers and locals called it a “man-dress”
108
Comp.

Muslims

Christia
JSOTF-
Score

RP

RP
Component Description and Questions (RP Muslims)

P
Component 1: Peaceful, Legitimate, but Troubled; Our Story
• The majority of Muslims in the Philippines are peaceful and 0.95 1 1 1
friendly.
• There is no such thing as an Islamic terrorist because real 0.92 0 1 1
Islam is completely peaceful
• Truly devout Muslims would prefer to have Sharia (Islamic 0.88 1 1 1
law) as the law of the land.
• Most Muslims want peace, not bombings, but they are afraid to 0.87 1 1 1
criticize the fanatics.
• Most Muslims are just regular people who want to care for their 0.86 1 1 1
families and have a better future; they have the same values as
Christians.
• The MNLF is not an extremist group, they are struggling 0.84 0 1 1
lawfully against oppression for Muslim self-determination
and justice.
• Christians and Muslims in general get along very well in the 0.84 1 1 1
ARMM.
• Violence and crimes against civilians are committed by lawless 0.82 0 1 1
renegades, not the real Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)
or Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
• Hijab (scarf) and long, loose clothing is considered 0.82 0 1 1
mandatory for Muslim women
• The majority of Muslims here believe in democracy, civil rights 0.82 1 1 1
and equality for all.
• People believe that officials of the Autonomous Region in 0.82 1 1 1
Muslim Mindanao get a lot of money but do little to benefit
Muslim communities.
• Violence here is not really about religious extremism, it is 0.80 1 1 1
mostly about money and power.
• In the Philippines, conflict is simply part of the culture—it is 0.78 1 1 1
not really about religion
• Most people here think that Abu Sayyaf members are just 0.78 1 1 1
criminals and thugs
• Muslims here think the central government does not care about 0.69 1 1 1
them and looks down on them
• Extremists distort the teachings of Islam to justify their violence 0.69 1 1 1
against innocent people
• Members of the Maranao tribe are more strict about Islam and 0.67 1 1 0
more likely to wear traditional dress and hijab or niqab (head or

109
full face coverings).
Component 2: Rejecting Extremist Stereotypes
• Women here who wear the burqa (full covering) are probably 0.81744 0 0 0
fundamentalists. 8
• In the Philippines, most Muslims are Shia and a few are Sunni. 0.80674 0 0 0
8
• Foreign clerics are introducing radical ideas in madrassas 0.80103 1 0 1
and mosques here. 5
• Only foreign men wear the traditional Arab-style dress here in 0.79020 0 0 0
the Philippines. 6
• The Sama and Badjao people are traditionally very fierce and 0.73225 0 0 0
violent Muslims. 4
• Most Muslims here do not support the MNLF. 0.68533 0 0 0
6
• People join militant groups here mostly because of radical 0.67089 0 0 0
religious beliefs. 1
Table 15. Component Description, Loadings and Questions for Muslims

PCA of JSOTF-P Respondents


Figure 7 is a scatterplot of the all the factor loadings for the first and second components
for JSOTF-P respondents; the first component correlates positively with the variables,
while the second component correlates negatively with the variables. The eigenvalue
scree plot is inset; the scree plot shows a sharp drop in eigenvalue from the first to the
second component; hence the decision to retain two components. Table X shows the
variance apportioned to the first three components; the first two account for about 66%.
The variables in Component 3 were examined, but were not found to contribute
practically to understanding the structure.

Percent 
Component  Eigenvalue  Variance CUM % 
1  21.0  53.6 53.6
2  4.7  12.1 65.7
3  1.6  4.2 69.9

Table 16. Variance apportioned to first three components for JSOTF-P respondents

110
1  

Scatterplot of First Two PCA Component Loadings (JSOTF-P)


0.8  

0.6  

0.4  

Most Peaceful
0.2   some Militant;
Troubled
0  
-­‐1   -­‐0.8   -­‐0.6   -­‐0.4   -­‐0.2   0   0.2   0.4   0.6   0.8   1  

-­‐0.2  
Figure X. Scatterplot of First Two PCA Component Loadings for JSOTF-P Respondents
-­‐0.4  

-­‐0.6  

-­‐0.8  

Rejecting extremist
-­‐1  
stereotypes (but cynical)

Figure 7. Scatterplot of First Two PCA Component Loadings for JSOTF-P Respondent

111
Labels at the ends of each component in Figure 7 indicate the interpretation of the
extreme values of the component scores, which shall be explained next. Table 17 shows
the variables (questions) with the most significant loadings and the sub-groups’ answers
to the questions (1 = agree, 0 = disagree). In this case, n= 31, so loadings greater than 0.8
were considered most significant.

The first component, Most Peaceful, Some Militant; Troubled is similar to the Muslims’
first component, but has more questions to do with grievances and fear of the militants, as
shown in Table 17. The respondents recognize that mainstream Muslims are peaceful,
but the militancy or extremism is very salient.

A majority of Philippine Christians agreed with the Muslim respondents on all of the
questions in this first component; JSOTF-P members’ consensus matched that of the
Muslim’s on 12 of 14 items. The two items of disagreement are over whether or not the
populace quietly or actively support the extremists (task force members suspect that they
so) and the long term goals of Jemaah Islamiyah. The goals of JI may be debated, and
mistrust of the populace is probably understandable, but if that became public, it could
cause consternation.

The second component only has 4 items with loadings greater than 0.8, so items with
lower loadings are included for careful consideration. This component is similar to the
Muslims’ second component in that it has elements of rejecting extremist stereotypes, but
it also includes the item about Islamic terrorism being “Islamic” and the item about
MNLF and MILF extremism and violence against the populace, an area of disagreement
already discussed---hence the “cynical.” Philippine Christians agree with Muslims on
almost every item except on “Muslims here see themselves as Sunni or Shia first, then as
a tribe member; (JSOTF-P and Muslims both agree) and on whether or not
fundamentalists are less likely to be found in rural areas (JSOTF-P and Muslims both
disagree).

112
Component Description and Questions (JSOTF-P) Comp. JSOTF‐P  RP  RP 
Score Consensus  Muslim  Christian 
Answer  Consensus  Majority 
Answer  Answer 
Component 1: Most Peaceful, some Militant;       
Troubled       
• The majority of Muslims in the Philippines are 
peaceful and friendly.  0.95 1  1 1 
• Most Muslims want peace, not bombings, but 
they are afraid to criticize the fanatics.  0.92 1  1 1 
• Extremists distort the teachings of Islam to 
justify their violence against innocent people   0.91 1  1 1 
• Muslims do not speak out against the 
violence because they sometimes agree with 
the extremists’ goals   0.88 1  0 1 
• People here join militant groups mostly 
because they need money and can’t find work.  0.84 1  1 1 
• People believe that officials of the 
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao get a 
lot of money but do little to benefit Muslim 
communities.  0.83 1  1 1 
• Most people here think that Abu Sayyaf 
members are just criminals and thugs  0.83 1  1 1 
• Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) are foreigners who 
want to establish a new Islamic Caliphate by 
violent jihad.  0.82 1  0 1 
• Muslims here think the central government 
does not care about them and looks down on 
them  0.82 1  1 1 
• Most Muslims are just regular people who 
want to care for their families and have a 
better future; they have the same values as 
Christians.  0.82 1  1 1 
• Violence here is not really about religious 
extremism, it is mostly about money and 
power.  0.77 1  1 1 
• Support for the MILF flows from the 
Maguindanao tribe.  0.77 1  1 1 
• The Badjao people are looked down on by 
other tribes who think they are un‐Islamic in 
some ways.  0.75 1  1 1 

113
• Truly devout Muslims would prefer to have 
Sharia (Islamic law) as the law of the land.  0.74 1  1 1 
Component 2: Rejecting extremist stereotypes (but 
cynical) 
• People join militant groups here mostly 
because of radical religious beliefs.  ‐0.89 0  0 0 
• Most Muslims here do not support the MNLF.  ‐0.84 0  0 0 
• There is no such thing as an Islamic terrorist 
because real Islam is completely peaceful  ‐0.81 0  1 1 
• Women who are modern and progressive 
Muslims never wear the hijab (head 
covering).  ‐0.81 0  0 1 
• Muslims here see themselves as Sunni or Shia first, 
then as a tribe member.  ‐0.78 0  1 0 
• Women here who wear the burqa (full 
covering) are probably fundamentalists.  ‐0.75 0  0 0 
 Violence and crimes against civilians are 
committed by lawless renegades, not the real 
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) or Moro 
National Liberation Front (MNLF).   ‐0.71 0  1 1 
 Only foreign men wear the traditional Arab‐
style dress here in the Philippines.  ‐0.70 0  0 0 
Possibly consider these variables with lower loadings 
on Component 2:     
People who live in rural areas are less likely to be 
fundamentalists.  ‐0.667 0  0 1 
In the Philippines, most Muslims are Shia and a few 
are Sunni.  ‐0.648 0  0 0 
The MNLF is not an extremist group, they are 
struggling lawfully against oppression for Muslim self‐
determination and justice.  ‐0.583 0  1 1 
Hijab (scarf) and long, loose clothing is considered 
mandatory for Muslim women  ‐0.562 0  1 1 

Table 17 . Component Description, Loadings and Questions for JSOTF-P

PCA of Philippine Christian Respondents.


Figure 8 is a scatterplot of the all the factor loadings for the first and second components
for Philippine Christian respondents; the first component correlates positively with the
variables, while the second component correlates negatively with the variables. The
eigenvalue scree plot is inset; the scree plot shows a sharp drop in eigenvalue from the
first to the second component; hence the decision to retain two components. Table 18
shows the variance apportioned to the first three components; the first two account for

114
about 66%. The variables in Component 3 were examined, but were not found to
contribute practically to understanding the structure.

Component  Eigenvalues  PERCENT CUM % 


1  23.4  59.8 59.8
2  2.4  6.1 66.0
3  1.9  4.9 70.8

Table 18. Variance apportioned to first three components for Philippine Christian
respondents

The component analysis for the Philippine Christians is similar to that of JSOTF-P. The
first components were given the same name, Most Peaceful, Some Militant; Troubled
reflecting that these respondents also recognize that mainstream Muslims are peaceful,
but that militancy or extremism is very salient to them. Philippine Christians disagree
with their Muslim countrymen on 5 of 12 of the items in the first component. For
example, Philippine Christians as well as JSOTF-P members agreed that Tausugs are
warrior-like; this was information provided originally by Muslim respondents. This sub-
group also agrees with the JSOTF-P that foreigners are radicalizing in the mosques and
madrassas, and that Muslims do not speak out against extremists because they sometime
agree with their goals; the topic of foreigners may not be controversial and the mistrust
they have of their fellow countrymen is certainly not a secret. As mentioned before, our
Muslim partners need to appreciate how other’s view them.

The second component, Rejecting Extremist Stereotypes, is quite similar to the second
component for the Muslim respondents, and lacking the cynical perspectives of the
JSOTF-P. The respondent’s answers agree across the board in this component.

115
Sca�erplot  of  First  Two  
 PCA  Component  Loadings  (RP-­‐Chris�ans)  
1  

0.8  

0.6  

0.4   Most Peaceful, Some


Militant; Troubled
0.2  

0  
-­‐1   -­‐0.8   -­‐0.6   -­‐0.4   -­‐0.2   0   0.2   0.4   0.6   0.8   1  
-­‐0.2  

-­‐0.4  

-­‐0.6  

-­‐0.8  

-­‐1   Rejecting Extremist


Stereotypes

Figure 8. Scatterplot of First Two PCA Component Loadings for Philippine Christian
Respondents

116
Component Description and Questions (RP- Comp. JSOTF‐P  RP  RP 
Christians) Score Consensus  Muslim  Christian 
Answer  Consensus  Majority 
Answer  Answer 
Component 1: Most Peaceful, Some Militant;            
Troubled
• The Badjao people are looked down on by other  0.85  1  1  1 
tribes who think they are un‐Islamic in some 
ways. 
• The Tausug tribe is known for being very war‐ 0.80  1  0  1 
like 
• Extremists distort the teachings of Islam to justify  0.79  1  1  1 
their violence against innocent people  
• Most Muslims are just regular people who want  0.78  1  1  1 
to care for their families and have a better future; 
they have the same values as Christians. 
• People believe that officials of the Autonomous  0.76  1  1  1 
Region in Muslim Mindanao get a lot of money 
but do little to benefit Muslim communities. 
• Violence here is not really about religious  0.72  1  1  1 
extremism, it is mostly about money and power. 
• Women who are modern and progressive  0.72  0  0  1 
Muslims never wear the hijab (head covering). 
• Foreign clerics are introducing radical ideas in  0.71  1  0  1 
madrassas and mosques here. 
• There are as many kinds of Islam here as there  0.71  1  0  1 
are tribes  
• Most people here think that Abu Sayyaf members  0.70  1  1  1 
are just criminals and thugs 
• Muslims do not speak out against the violence  0.67  1  0  1 
because they sometimes agree with the 
extremists’ goals  
• People here join militant groups mostly because  0.67  1  1  1 
they need money and can’t find work. 

117
Component 2: Rejecting Extremist Stereotypes         
• Women here who wear the burqa (full covering) are  ‐0.767  0  0  0 
probably fundamentalists. 
• Only foreign men wear the traditional Arab‐style dress  ‐0.736  0  0  0 
here in the Philippines. 
• Members of the Maranao tribe are more strict about  ‐0.704  1  1  1 
Islam and more likely to wear traditional dress and 
hijab or niqab (head or full face coverings). 
• People join militant groups here mostly because of  ‐0.69  0  0  0 
radical religious beliefs. 
• The Sama and Badjao people are traditionally very  ‐0.67  0  0  0 
fierce and violent Muslims. 
• Most Muslims here do not support the MNLF.  ‐0.67  0  0  0 
• In the Philippines, most Muslims are Shia and a few  ‐0.66  0  0  0 
are Sunni. 
Table 19. Component Description, Loadings and Questions for Philippine Christians

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Summary of PCA:
This approached reduced the thirty-nine correlated variables for three sub-groups to a
manageable two principal components each. The interpretation of the principal
components was remarkably similar for the three groups; the JSOTF-P and local
Christians were very nearly the same, summarized in Table 20. The differences seem to
be due to perspective, i.e., how Muslims view themselves versus how others view them.
Non-Muslims seem more inclined to believe that Islam is inherently violent, to “see”
evidence of religious extremism in the violence and view the Muslim populace as
somehow complicit if now outright supportive. Muslims maintain that they are regular
peaceful folk with legitimate political motivations and grievances and troubled by
violence that is driven not by the true Islam but falsified religion, by cultural and
economic factors, and by criminal elements.

Subgroup Name of Component 1 Name of Component 2


RP Muslims Peaceful, Legitimate, but Rejecting extremist
Troubled (Our Story) stereotypes
JSOTF-P Most Peaceful, Some Rejecting extremist
Militant; Troubled stereotypes (but cynical)
RP Christians Most Peaceful, Some Rejecting extremist
Militant; Troubled stereotypes

Table 20. Summary of PCA

119
Phase II Discussion
Major stakeholders in the Southern Philippines do not share a common understanding of
the culture. This could be an impediment to a proper intelligence estimate of the situation
when planning any kind of operation, whether it be a raid, a training event, a community
engagement or development project. We cannot necessarily rely on what our AFP
partners tell us; they also lack expertise on the culture of MIndanao. We have disconnects
within and between major stakeholders where we should have a “three-legged stool.”

Muslim respondents affirm that they are not radical or extremist, that their religion is not
violent or terroristic, and that separatist groups, although militant, are not extremist or
criminal. They believe that criminal, terroristic acts are committed by rogue, lawless
elements. Muslims of the Philippines reject that theirs is an extremist culture, and
embrace democracy. Neither sectarian nor tribal conflict appear to be salient factors,
unlike Iraq and Afghanistan. This populace yearns to be rid of corrupt and ineffective
governance, to be educated and to have legitimate grievances addressed.

JSOTF-P members and Philippine Christians agree that mainstream Muslims are
peaceful, but militancy and religious extremism is very salient to them. JSOTF-P
members share consensus amongst themselves that Islam is not peaceful, and some, but
not a majority of Philippine Christians agree. Both groups believe that the separatist
groups MNLF and MILF are extremists and do endanger the populace, and that the
populace supports the extremists, either out of fear or support for their objectives.
Philippine Christians as well as JSOTF-P members agreed that Tausugs and Yakans are
warrior-like. This sub-group also agrees with the JSOTF-P that foreigners are
radicalizing in the mosques and madrassas.

This disparity in viewpoints, first seen in qualitative analysis of the semi-structured


interviews and now quantified, is very important for the task force to be aware of and to
manage properly. Conversely, our Muslim partners in the military, law enforcement and
community leaders should be aware of how others perceive them.

120
The good news is that key stakeholders do appear to have shared appreciation, or degree
of homogeneity of views and high levels of cultural knowledge—the PNP and the
Muslim populace in particular—we should leverage their expertise. This is critically
important because the new Internal Peace and Security Plan requires an enormous
capacity-building effort for the PNP in the near-term. There are culturally knowledgeable
members of the JSOTF-P of all ranks and educational levels, and there is significant
concordance with the Muslim respondents.

121
Chapter 4: Discussion and Conclusions

The first phase of the dissertation revealed the richness of perspectives about Muslims in
the research population. The large range and diversity of characteristics that people use
to discuss Muslims and Islam in the Philippines describe a very unfamiliar cultural
domain with a vastly different ethnic context than Iraq or Afghanistan.
The data from the free-list task and thematic analysis of the interviews suggests stark
differences in point of view between the different stakeholders in the area–local Muslims
view themselves primarily in terms of their tribal/ethnic identity while JSOTF-P
members view Muslims mainly through the lenses of sectarian orientation, religious
extremism/moderation and violence.

JSOTF-P members often referred to their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan when
asked about Muslim culture, and generally did not express detailed knowledge about
Mindanao. While the locals referred to the five main tribes of Mindanao almost
universally when asked about Muslims in Mindanao, most JSOTF-P members did not.
This means that fundamental information about the human terrain is not salient to the task
force members. (Notable exceptions: members of 1st Special Forces Group do have
specific cultural knowledge of the Philippines; this group is aligned to operate in Asia
and has provided personnel and leadership to JSOTF-P Mindanao since its inception.)
JSOTF-P members must start with a clean page and assess this environment in order to
properly plan and execute population-centric intelligence-driven operations.

The thematic analysis of the semi-structured interviews provided extensive content about
Muslims and Islam in the Philippines, and revealed that who qualifies as a religious
extremist, who is a militant (or even if those are really different things) and who may
primarily be criminal is not so easily distinguished in the Philippines. Religion, power,
money, grievances and violence are not to be so neatly divided, and these elements
appear throughout the interviews in complicated relationships—an ecology, if you will.

122
The VEOs are part of an ecology of de facto governance, which competes with or
substitutes for de jure governance.

In Mindanao, weak legitimate governance means that security is privatized by the


wealthy and rule of law is suborned by money, connections and by rule of armed power.
A few elite families control most of the wealth and elected positions; members of the
elected government themselves use and manipulate both the official and unofficial
elements of governance. There are those who believe that people join these groups to
earn money, as jobs are scarce, and then become trapped. This is another aspect of the
VEO ecology—that their activities provide employment and income—the de facto
economic aspect of governance—in the absence of a healthy economy.

The second phase of research complemented the first, allowing us to analyze the patterns
of agreement and disagreement between the different stakeholders. We did find that
major stakeholders in the Southern Philippines do not share a common understanding of
the culture. This could be an impediment to a proper intelligence estimate of the situation
when planning any kind of operation, whether a raid, a training event, a community
engagement or development project. We cannot necessarily rely on what our AFP
partners tell us; they also lack expertise on the culture. We have disconnects within and
between major stakeholders where we should have a “three-legged stool.”

Muslim respondents affirm that they are not radical or extremist, that their religion is not
violent or terroristic, and that separatist groups, although militant, are not extremist or
criminal. Criminal, terroristic acts are believed to be committed by rogue, lawless
elements. Muslims of the Philippines reject that theirs is an extremist culture, and
embrace democracy. Neither sectarian nor tribal conflict appear to be salient factors,
unlike in Iraq and Afghanistan. This populace yearns to be rid of corrupt and ineffective
governance, to be educated and to have legitimate grievances addressed.

JSOTF-P members and Philippine Christians agree that mainstream Muslims are
peaceful, but militancy and religious extremism is very salient to them. JSOTF-P

123
members share consensus amongst themselves that Islam is not peaceful, and some, but
not a majority of Philippine Christians agree. Both groups believe that the separatist
groups MNLF and MILF are extremists and do endanger the populace, and that the
populace supports these extremists, either out of fear or support for their objectives.
Philippine Christians as well as JSOTF-P members agreed that Tausugs and Yakans are
warrior-like. This sub-group also agrees with the JSOTF-P that foreigners are
radicalizing in the mosques and madrassas.

This disparity in viewpoints, first seen in qualitative analysis of the semi-structured


interviews and now quantified, is very important for the task force to be aware of and to
manage properly. Conversely, our Muslim partners in the military, law enforcement and
community leaders should be aware of how others perceive them.

The good news is that key stakeholders do appear to have a degree of shared
appreciation, or homogeneity of views and high levels of cultural knowledge. There are
culturally knowledgeable members of the JSOTF-P of all ranks and educational levels,
and there is significant concordance with the Muslim respondents. The PNP in
particular, having many members from local communities, has cultural expertise which
we should leverage. This would better enable USG personnel to discern the cultural
implications when engaging Muslim populations in the Southern Philippines during
irregular warfare or security assistance activities and inform capacity-building,
development and diplomatic efforts.

Policy Recommendations:

– Provide cultural training to members upon arrival; invite members of the


community to teach.

– It would be enormously helpful to conduct formal social network analysis (SNA)


of the VEOs, families and tribal groups. AFP and PNP officers were keenly
interested in network analysis; they had painstakingly developed knowledge of
the people and VEOs but had very limited ability to create electronic databases

124
and had no experience with SNA software tools. Training them would be an
excellent goal for future capacity-building with our partners.

– The issue of corruption, in the sense of an impenetrable political ecology where,


in the de facto governance, the elected government and the VEOs may have
family, clan or tribal ties, merits very careful attention. However, the cooperation
of local officials is critical and could be derailed with the wrong approach. The
linkages of people, groups, and political offices would benefit from detailed
analysis including SNA.

– It would be useful to determine if respondent references to foreign clerics


radicalizing in the hinterland have any basis in fact, and if so, determine who they
are and how they are supported.

– Grievances should be assessed district by district in the full context of the socio-
cultural setting and resources prioritized according to the commander’s
overarching objectives addressing every aspect of reforming governance. Every
task force member should be aware of these grievances and how they motivate the
population.

– The belief that Islam is inherently violent was expressed by some JSOTF-P
members; this would be deeply offensive to Muslims. JSOTF-P leadership should
address this during command orientation.

– Muslims associate education with being peace-loving; they tend to believe that
educated people are more moderate and those who are illiterate are more
susceptible to extremism.

o Rigorously investigate the links between lack of education and


extremism to inform policy

 Task force members may assume that other people are “like them,” in a kindly
manner; but this habit could skew their appreciation of the environment. Train the
force to be more objective when they assess the populace.

125
 Assess populace on this topic district by district to discern what or who they support;
this will clarify deleterious influences and grievances

 A commonly expressed belief is that people are misled to support or join extremists;
review and assess measures of effectiveness for influence operations.

 The language used by the task force is of utmost importance. Language mistakes
could render engagement and influence activities ineffective, whereas effective use
of language is more likely to resonate with the populace. The analysis in Chapter 5
provides specific guidance on language might be useful to use or avoid in command
communications.

126
Appendix 1 Human Subjects Protection
All requirements of the RAND Human Subjects Protection Committee have been met
using the new RHINO online system, including protection of identities and informed
consent of interviewees. All identities were protected and all information identifying
participants has been destroyed. All participation in interviews and surveys will be
voluntary. Personal data on informants will be collected to include age, gender,
occupation or Military Occupation Specialty (MOS), education and religion.

127
Appendix 2: Milestones and Resources
Literature Review October-Dec 2007
Pre-Prospectus Signed Feb 2008
Human Subjects Protection Committee Submission Feb 2008
Emergency Leave of Absence Sept 2008-Oct 2010
Literature Review Update October 2010
Stage 1 Data Collection: Semi-Structured Interviews May 2011
Stage 1 Data Analysis June 2011
Stage 2 Data Collection: Structured Interviews June 2011
Stage 2 Data Analysis October 2011-Jan 2012
“Where I’m Stuck” Seminar 17 Feb 2012
Prospectus Signed 27 April 2012
Outside Reader 15 May 2012
Final Dissertation Seminar 25 May 2012
Dissertation Complete/Signed 8 June 2012
Resources:
Labor (200 days @ $310/day) $62,000
Tech Services (15 months @ $7,956/yr) $9,945
MS Office, data backup, remote access ($26.16 biweekly) $523
Other Software:
QDMiner/SIMSTAT/WORDSTAT $995
Anthropac, UCINET $80
Digital Voice Editor, transcription software $250
Digital Voice Recorder $100
Books/Materials $1,000
Travel
Zamboanga and vicinity, 60 days $5,000
TBD (travel budget remaining) $3,000
Estimated Total: $82,893

128
Appendix 3 Phase I Interviews Code Book

Category Code Description Count % Cases % Cases


Codes
Codebook Freelist AQ al Qaeda 5 0.50% 4 13.30%
Interviews\Actors
Codebook Freelist ASG Abu Sayyaf Group, 18 1.80% 12 40.00%
Interviews\Actors
Codebook Freelist BIFF Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters 4 0.40% 4 13.30%
Interviews\Actors
Codebook Freelist JI Jemaah Islamiyah 11 1.10% 9 30.00%
Interviews\Actors
Codebook Freelist MILF Moro Islamic Liberation Front 19 1.90% 13 43.30%
Interviews\Actors
Codebook Freelist MNLF Moro National Liberation Front 13 1.30% 10 33.30%
Interviews\Actors
Codebook Freelist Educated Attended school; literate 13 1.30% 8 26.70%
Interviews\Education
Codebook Freelist Madrassa Mosque School 7 0.70% 6 20.00%
Interviews\Education
Codebook Freelist Uneducated Was not able to attend school; illiterate 19 1.90% 11 36.70%
Interviews\Education
Codebook Freelist Bad text string "bad" 7 0.70% 4 13.30%
Interviews\Extremism
Codebook Freelist Beheading Any text stream behead, beheaded, 2 0.20% 2 6.70%
Interviews\Extremism beheading
Codebook Freelist Extremist Any text string with extrem, extreme, 41 4.10% 14 46.70%
Interviews\Extremism extremist, extremism
Codebook Freelist Fanatics text string fanatic 11 1.10% 4 13.30%
Interviews\Extremism
Codebook Freelist Fighting the verb fight, fighting; armed conflict 18 1.80% 12 40.00%
Interviews\Extremism
Codebook Freelist Fundamentalist text string fundamentalist, fundamentalists, 6 0.60% 4 13.30%
Interviews\Extremism fundamentalism; speakers referring to Muslim
fundamentalists
Codebook Freelist Hostile perceived hostility of populace to US forces 1 0.10% 1 3.30%
Interviews\Extremism
Codebook Freelist IED Improvised explosive device 5 0.50% 5 16.70%
Interviews\Extremism
Codebook Freelist Islamist text string Islamist 2 0.20% 1 3.30%
Interviews\Extremism
Codebook Freelist Jihadist text string Jihadist 9 0.90% 5 16.70%
Interviews\Extremism
Codebook Freelist KFR Kidnap for ransom 8 0.80% 7 23.30%
Interviews\Extremism
Codebook Freelist Lawless text string lawless 4 0.40% 2 6.70%
Interviews\Extremism

129
Codebook Freelist Mean as in mean people 1 0.10% 1 3.30%
Interviews\Extremism
Codebook Freelist Militants text string militant 12 1.20% 5 16.70%
Interviews\Extremism
Codebook Freelist Radical text string radical 24 2.40% 10 33.30%
Interviews\Extremism
Codebook Freelist Rogue text string rogue 4 0.40% 3 10.00%
Interviews\Extremism
Codebook Freelist Suicide suicide bombers,martyrs 5 0.50% 4 13.30%
Interviews\Extremism bombers
Codebook Freelist Terrorist text string terrorist 6 0.60% 5 16.70%
Interviews\Extremism
Codebook Freelist Violent Violent, violence 30 3.00% 14 46.70%
Interviews\Extremism
Codebook Freelist Afghanistan Afghanistan 14 1.40% 7 23.30%
Interviews\Geographic
Reference
Codebook Freelist Africa Africa 2 0.20% 1 3.30%
Interviews\Geographic
Reference
Codebook Freelist Basilan Basilan 7 0.70% 4 13.30%
Interviews\Geographic
Reference
Codebook Freelist India Basilan 1 0.10% 1 3.30%
Interviews\Geographic
Reference
Codebook Freelist Indonesia Indonesia 9 0.90% 7 23.30%
Interviews\Geographic
Reference
Codebook Freelist Iran Iran 3 0.30% 2 6.70%
Interviews\Geographic
Reference
Codebook Freelist Iraq Iraq 15 1.50% 8 26.70%
Interviews\Geographic
Reference
Codebook Freelist Jolo Jolo 5 0.50% 5 16.70%
Interviews\Geographic
Reference
Codebook Freelist Marawi Marawi 5 0.50% 2 6.70%
Interviews\Geographic
Reference
Codebook Freelist Middle East Middle East 4 0.40% 3 10.00%
Interviews\Geographic
Reference
Codebook Freelist Mindanao Mindanao 7 0.70% 7 23.30%
Interviews\Geographic
Reference
Codebook Freelist Pakistan Pakistan 2 0.20% 2 6.70%
Interviews\Geographic
Reference
Codebook Freelist Philippines Philippines 34 3.40% 16 53.30%
Interviews\Geographic
Reference
Codebook Freelist Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia 4 0.40% 3 10.00%
Interviews\Geographic

130
Reference
Codebook Freelist Sulu Sulu 3 0.30% 2 6.70%
Interviews\Geographic
Reference
Codebook Freelist Tawi Tawi 8 0.80% 5 16.70%
Interviews\Geographic
Reference
Codebook Freelist Zamboanga Zamboanga 2 0.20% 2 6.70%
Interviews\Geographic
Reference
Codebook Freelist Shia Shia 23 2.30% 11 36.70%
Interviews\Islamic Sects
Codebook Freelist Sufi Sufi 2 0.20% 2 6.70%
Interviews\Islamic Sects
Codebook Freelist Sunni Sunni 28 2.80% 11 36.70%
Interviews\Islamic Sects
Codebook Freelist Tabligh Tabligh 1 0.10% 1 3.30%
Interviews\Islamic Sects
Codebook Freelist Wahhabi Wahhabi 5 0.50% 3 10.00%
Interviews\Islamic Sects
Codebook Freelist Democratic believing in Democracy 1 0.10% 1 3.30%
Interviews\Moderates
Codebook Freelist Friendly text string friendly 7 0.70% 6 20.00%
Interviews\Moderates
Codebook Freelist In-Between The "in-between" people; an expression for 2 0.20% 2 6.70%
Interviews\Moderates moderates or non-combatants
Codebook Freelist Intimidated- The belief that the Muslim populace is 5 0.50% 4 13.30%
Interviews\Moderates Endangered intimidated and threatened by extremists
Codebook Freelist Kind kind as in nice, not as in "type" 3 0.30% 2 6.70%
Interviews\Moderates
Codebook Freelist Liberal text string "liberal" 2 0.20% 2 6.70%
Interviews\Moderates
Codebook Freelist Mainstream text string "mainstream" 5 0.50% 3 10.00%
Interviews\Moderates
Codebook Freelist Majority text sting majority 10 1.00% 7 23.30%
Interviews\Moderates
Codebook Freelist Middle text stream middle; refers to moderates, 3 0.30% 3 10.00%
Interviews\Moderates people in the middle
Codebook Freelist Moderate text string moderate 19 1.90% 9 30.00%
Interviews\Moderates
Codebook Freelist Muslims are expressions used by US respondents; 7 0.70% 5 16.70%
Interviews\Moderates like us expressing belief that people are the same
Codebook Freelist Nice text string nice 5 0.50% 4 13.30%
Interviews\Moderates
Codebook Freelist Non-extremist text string non-extremist 3 0.30% 3 10.00%
Interviews\Moderates
Codebook Freelist Non-Violent text string non-violent 4 0.40% 3 10.00%
Interviews\Moderates
Codebook Freelist Normal text string normal 3 0.30% 2 6.70%
Interviews\Moderates
Codebook Freelist Peaceful text string peaceful 5 0.50% 4 13.30%
Interviews\Moderates
Codebook Freelist Populace text string populace 7 0.70% 4 13.30%
Interviews\Moderates

131
Codebook Freelist Progressive text string prgressive 3 0.30% 2 6.70%
Interviews\Moderates
Codebook Freelist Regular as in the "regular" people 3 0.30% 3 10.00%
Interviews\Moderates
Codebook Freelist Support expressions that the populace supports the 8 0.80% 5 16.70%
Interviews\Moderates Extremists extremists
Codebook Freelist Westernized text string western 8 0.80% 5 16.70%
Interviews\Moderates
Codebook Freelist Corruption corrupt, corruption 9 0.90% 8 26.70%
Interviews\Morality
Codebook Freelist Criminality criminal activities 10 1.00% 9 30.00%
Interviews\Morality
Codebook Freelist Drinking alcohol 5 0.50% 5 16.70%
Interviews\Morality
Codebook Freelist Hypocrite text string hypocrite 2 0.20% 1 3.30%
Interviews\Morality
Codebook Freelist Non- any sex not sanctioned by marriage, incuding 6 0.60% 2 6.70%
Interviews\Morality sanctioned sex boy-friend/girlfriends, use of prostitutes,
incest
Codebook Freelist Anti-US expression that hostility is specifically anti-US 1 0.10% 1 3.30%
Interviews\Drivers of
Violence
Codebook Freelist Cultural Violence is ingrained in the culture 4 0.40% 4 13.30%
Interviews\Drivers of
Violence
Codebook Freelist Defensive Violence is in defense of homes, land, 2 0.20% 2 6.70%
Interviews\Drivers of families
Violence
Codebook Freelist Grievances disatisfaction with conditions, resentment of 17 1.70% 8 26.70%
Interviews\Drivers of treatment
Violence
Codebook Freelist Islam Distorted Violence a distortion of Islam 27 2.70% 17 56.70%
Interviews\Drivers of
Violence
Codebook Freelist Islam violence is normative to the religious 7 0.70% 4 13.30%
Interviews\Drivers of inherently teachings
Violence violent
Codebook Freelist Money text string money 19 1.90% 11 36.70%
Interviews\Drivers of
Violence
Codebook Freelist People are expressions that people who cannot rad the 17 1.70% 14 46.70%
Interviews\Drivers of misled Quran are misled by radicals
Violence
Codebook Freelist Power text string power 11 1.10% 9 30.00%
Interviews\Drivers of
Violence
Codebook Freelist Revenge text string revenge 2 0.20% 2 6.70%
Interviews\Drivers of
Violence
Codebook Freelist Sectarian e.g., conflict between Sunnis and Shias 1 0.10% 1 3.30%
Interviews\Drivers of conflict
Violence
Codebook Freelist Separatism Moro separatism; movements to be 10 1.00% 9 30.00%
Interviews\Drivers of independent from the central Manila
Violence government

132
Codebook Freelist Tribal conflict Conflict between Moro tribes 2 0.20% 2 6.70%
Interviews\Drivers of
Violence
Codebook Freelist Badjao Badjao tribe 9 0.90% 5 16.70%
Interviews\Philippine
Tribes
Codebook Freelist Maguindanao Maguindanao tribe 11 1.10% 6 20.00%
Interviews\Philippine
Tribes
Codebook Freelist Maranao Maranao tribe 15 1.50% 9 30.00%
Interviews\Philippine
Tribes
Codebook Freelist Sama Sama tribe 16 1.60% 7 23.30%
Interviews\Philippine
Tribes
Codebook Freelist Tausug Tausug tribe 28 2.80% 11 36.70%
Interviews\Philippine
Tribes
Codebook Freelist Yakan Yakan tribe 16 1.60% 8 26.70%
Interviews\Philippine
Tribes
Codebook Freelist Conservative text string conservative 19 1.90% 12 40.00%
Interviews\Religiousness
Codebook Freelist Only One Only one Islam, but many cultures and 7 0.70% 5 16.70%
Interviews\Religiousness Islam variations in cultural practices
Codebook Freelist Convert as in a person who has converted (noun) 3 0.30% 2 6.70%
Interviews\Religiousness
Codebook Freelist Convert (verb) as in converting people 5 0.50% 5 16.70%
Interviews\Religiousness
Codebook Freelist Devout text string devout 6 0.60% 5 16.70%
Interviews\Religiousness
Codebook Freelist Non-Practicing text string 4 0.40% 3 10.00%
Interviews\Religiousness
Codebook Freelist Not Strict text string 4 0.40% 3 10.00%
Interviews\Religiousness
Codebook Freelist Pious text string 1 0.10% 1 3.30%
Interviews\Religiousness
Codebook Freelist Practicing text string practicing; caution, this can return 11 1.10% 8 26.70%
Interviews\Religiousness "non-practicing"
Codebook Freelist Sharia Practice Sharia, want sharia 13 1.30% 6 20.00%
Interviews\Religiousness
Codebook Freelist Strict text string 11 1.10% 7 23.30%
Interviews\Religiousness
Codebook Freelist Traditional text string 8 0.80% 7 23.30%
Interviews\Religiousness
Codebook Freelist Traditional traditional attire such as niqab, hijab, burqa, 28 2.80% 15 50.00%
Interviews\Religiousness Attire head scarf, loose modest clothing, men's
skullcap/dish-dash;
Codebook Freelist True Believers text string 5 0.50% 4 13.30%
Interviews\Religiousness
Codebook Freelist Western Attire 11 1.10% 9 30.00%
Interviews\Religiousness
Codebook Freelist Poor 14 1.40% 8 26.70%
Interviews\Wealth

133
Codebook Freelist Wealthy 9 0.90% 5 16.70%
Interviews\Wealth
Table 20. Codebook

134
Appendix 4. Thematic Binning of Free-list Data

TRIBAL‐
TRIBE‐ETHNIC‐ ETHNIC‐
EXTREMISTS MODERATES RELIGIOSNESS PHILIPPINES SECT EDUCATION GEOGRAPHIC OTHER WEALTH
believers who 
every‐day  follow the 
ASG normal ones Koran Badjao animist educated Afghan Kurdish poor
sophisticated 
bad friendly conservative Bangsamoro Islamic and educated African nomads wealthy
in the middle 
BIFF not fighting converts Calagan Shia ulema Arab Pashtuns
in‐between 
criminal ones devout Davonigno Sufi uneducated Indian
uneducated‐
criminals kind Muslims evangelical Filipino Sunni illiterate Indonesian
unsophisticat
ed and 
extreme fundamentalists liberal hypocritical Iranon Tablighs illiterate Iranian
Muslim by 
extremist versions mainstream birth Maguindanao Wahhabi Iraqi
non‐
extremist‐fundamentalists mellows practicing Mapulin Jolo
extremists moderates practicing Maranao Tawi
Muslim lite 
fanatics less strict strict ones Marawi
fighters nice ones true believers Sama
non‐
fundamentalist‐jihadist extremists Samal
fundamentalists non‐violent Sangil
non‐violent 
fundamentalists we are fighti evangelists Sobayan
Islamists peaceful Subayon
mean ones populace Tausug
similar to 
MILF Westerners Yakan
militants westernized
MNLF
radicals
terrorists
those who do bad things
unconquered
violent
violent evangelists
violent extremists
violent‐devout
violently missionary

Table 21. Thematic binning of free-list data

135
Appendix 6. Tables of Quotes for Theme and Sub‐Themes

Theme: VEOs

VEOs Typical Quotes Rarer Quotes


BIFF  (RP-Muslim) The people I think (RP-Muslim) Well Kato, he is
are split as to whether they support ustadz (teacher), he has charisma.
Kato and BIFF. I think the
motivation of Kato is political, not
religious. It is not about ideology.
The split with MILF, it is political.
 (RP-Christian)You know
Amapatuan? The massacre? He
the ruler of all Mindanao, he killed
political opponents and reporters.
He was MNLF before. Now (he is
under arrest) all his go to Kato, to
the BIFF. We believe the current
governor supports the BIFF, he is
Toto, Magunadato. Kato has
more followers now, former
followers of Ampatuan. Why?
Because no money after the
massacre (because of the arrests).
 (US) Now there is a new splinter
group, you know about the BIFF?
Kato, formerly the 105th
commander, he's radical, now he
recruits and gets former 105th

136
guys.

AQ  (RP-Muslim) JI they are linked (US)There is something called


with ASG and AQ. “chosen trauma” where we rally
 (RP-Muslim) The radicals? There around an event. For Muslims it
is MNLF, MILF, Abu Sayyaf and was the fall of the Ottoman Empire,
Jemaah Islamiyah and Al-Qa’ida . and/or the invasion of Afghanistan
JI is from Indonesia and Malaysia. by the Soviets. AQ uses these to
 (US) al-Qa’ida say/believe they get people to come fight for the
are fighting evil. cause.

MNLF  (RP-Muslim) The MNLF wants (US) They (MNLF and others) are
peace, but renegades split off, they violent separatist groups,
do not want peace! supposedly negotiating for peace
 (RP-Muslim) The MNLF, they are but they are really negotiating
not extremist, they just wanted deceptively to gain advantage.
separate government, but it was They want the benefits of being
very careful to avoid civilian part of the PI without the
casualties, I know this, my father responsibility. They want an
was MNLF. Islamic state (all the groups do).
 (RP-Muslim) Violent groups: JI,
MILF, MNLF, ASG. They are all
very religious. The radicals want a
separate Muslim state.
JI  (US) Now JI, they are still jihadist (US) They have ties to JI,
with ties to AQ, and going abroad MNLF/MILF does for resource
for stuff. They do IEDs, reasons, not because of ideology so
ambushes, safe havens, staging, much. They use ideology to
training, extortion. They marry manipulate the people, the leaders

137
local wives to integrate into are not true believers, in my
society here. They are mostly opinion
Indonesian, and Malaysian. They
have different facial features.
 (US) The JI guys here, they have
intermarried. This is their safe
haven, they are not fighter guys,
more like facilitators.
 (RP-Muslim) The JI have same
belief as AQ, and same strategy as
the Communists. They use
propaganda to generate sympathy
and in the madrassas, they teach
radical, and they speak to crowds.
They still have ideology of jihad.
JI want Islam to rule everyone–but
that is un-Islamic, because the
Koran says there is no compulsion
in religion.

MILF  (RP Muslim)And MILF–I do not (US) Well come to think of it,
know why they have “Islamic” in something weird, just in the last
the name, their struggle is not couple years, the NPA
religious, it is about separate (Communists) and MILF have
government. collaborated. This is unusual
 (RP Muslim) The Congress is because usually it is the Muslims
mostly Christians from Luzon, vs. the Christians. This is very
their laws do not help unusual.
Maguindanao. That is maybe one
reason people support the MILF–
the prejudice.

138
 (US) And MILF, they are violent
they willingly getting between the
PI people and the AFP, they use
the populace as a shield, they like
use children to do grocery runs to
the city and justify things for their
“holy quest.”
 (US) The MNLF and MILF, they
have rogue elements (that are
lawless). They are extremely
conservative.
 (US) Not all the MILF are
extreme.

ASG  (RP-Christian) They (ASG) are (RP-Muslims)Abu Sayyaf (ASG)


doing crimes, smuggling, drugs, they are outsiders!
gun running, and ASG, they are (RP-Muslim) Well, they (ASG) are
doing KFR. It is all about money. extremist, fundamentalist. Still,
 (RP-Muslim) The doings of the today? Still.
ASG is against the teachings of (RP-Muslim) The locals, they see
Islam–it is a “grave offense” the ASG as their only alternative
before the eyes of God. against the politics. Almost all
 (RP-Muslim) But the ASG, they ASG members have criminal
have no ideology anymore (they records and they are victims of the
are a criminal group) politicians’ bata-bata system. The

 (US) The fanatics, here in the PI, ASG guys, 95% are in the group

they are not so much preaching because of their situation, they do

jihad or the caliphate any more, I not believe in jihad. But the leaders

mean the ASG. Now it is about use jihad to convince, to recruit. A

criminality, and they no longer lot will join for religious reasons.
(RP- Muslim)Many pious of the

139
have strong key leaders. ulema reject the ASG on the
 (US) They do KFR to make a grounds of jihad.
living. But not all of them are bad,
it is like a gang, it can be hard to
leave. Some members just go
wrapped into it.
 (US) Here in the PI I know the
extremists are the ASG, and the JI.
The JI people were trained in
Afghanistan, but the ASG were
not, I don't think. There is the
KFR.

Table 22. Quotes related to violent extremist organizations (VEOs)

140
Theme: Violence
Violence Typical Quotes Rarer Quotes
Beheading  Only 2 occurrences  (US) Extremists are
people who behead you
if you do not follow
them.
 (US) But there are
beheadings
Bad  (US) Muslims are not all bad  (RP-Christian) They are
people. mostly bad.
 (US) They do KFR to make a  (US) They say
living. But not all of them are bad, “Inshallah” so when
it is like a gang, it can be hard to bad things happen, it is
leave. Some members just go the will of God.
wrapped into it.  (US) Muslims will do
 (RP-Christian) Well, some bad, what God tells them to
friendly, all mixed together. do, good or bad

Fighting  (RP-Muslim) The educated ones,  (RP-Christian) If


they are in the “middle” not joining somebody gets hurt, it
the fighting is the AFP fault no
 (RP-Christian) The fanatics–they matter what. They will
have twisted minds. They are then come and fight
fighting for a cause, they are like you (for revenge) no
Osama bin Ladin. matter what.
 (RP-Muslim) In the 1980s, it was  (RP-Muslim) They said
the highlander Yakans vs. the that ASG has “no
lowlander Tausugs, they used to ideology” and when
fight on Basilan. they pray for courage, it
 (RP-Muslim) The Tausug–they are is un-Islamic because

141
fierce, they fought for survival, they they are only doing
are allowed in Islam to defend crimes, not fighting for
themselves. Sometimes the AFP a principle.
are afraid of them.  (US) There are…hard-
 (RP-Muslim) Men: they fight; they core fundamentalists:
protect their area–both Yakans and they believe that Sharia
Tausugs. Men of the highlands do should be the law of the
this and women work. land, they believe in a
 (RP-Muslim) And so the MNLF caliphate…the ones we
and MILF fight in Cotabato; there is are fighting, you know,
a ceasefire right now. Islamists
 (US) In the PI, there are particular  (RP-Christians) They
families that are militant where for are fighting, they want
generations, fighting is handed independent, they want
down to the kids. Christians out.

Suicide bombers  (RP-Christian)They have bombs  (RP-Christian)Those


here but not the suicide bombers. suicide bombers, they
 (US)They teach about martyrdom, are insane.
promise that God will reward you if
you sacrifice your life and kill evil
others this is really powerful
motivation.
 (US) In the PI, the extremists are
different from Iraq, not very many
suicide bombers.
 (US) However some do not believe
in martyrdom, but still might do
terrorism.

142
IED  (US) They (JI) do IEDs, ambushes,  (RP-Muslim) There is
safe havens, staging, training, no foreign Imam
extortion. saying, “Hey you, go
 (US) They do IEDs as an make an IED!” (They
intimidation tool against the were laughing
populace, not US forces. derisively)
 (US) If they leave and IED and  (US) We are dealing
people get hurt, like children or with “something not
other Muslims, they just say right.” I mean 9-10
Inshallah. years of US presence
and these people think
the AFP set out the
IED?
KFR  (US) The groups, the terrorists are  (RP-Christian) Only the
ASG, they commit KFR Muslims do like KFR,
 (US) They do KFR to make a not Christians.
living.
 (US) They commit KFR and other
crimes, get money
 (RP-Muslim) KFR is a business.

Violent/Violence  (RP-Muslim)The separatist  (RP-Muslim)The


(General) politicians, they arm their own Maranao are business
groups and if a baranguy does not people and they may
support them, they will go massacre violently protect their
them! business interests.
 (RP-Muslim)They who did that  (US) The violent
massacre, (it was over an election) irreconcilable ones are

143
they are very rich. The hiding out in the forest,
government–there are guns and ie they have geographic
goons! Everybody has goons! sanctuary
 (RP-Muslim)Violent groups: JI,  (US) On Basilan, the
MILF, MNLF, ASG. They are all contrast is stark. In
very religious. The radicals want a Isabella City they are
separate Muslim state. far above the abject
 (RP-Muslim)Those who Koran poverty out in the rural
interpretation is radical, hard-core, areas where the road
they are killing (like the ASG) the stops and the violent
book is their tool for recruiting. Islamic culture begins.
They are violent.  (US) Either Sunni or
 (US) With devout Muslims, there is Shia can be either
one result—people die violent or non-violent.
 (US) The more devout, the more .
into the Koran (that they are) they
tend to be more fundamentalist.
You know, Islamists. They justify
violence by the Koran. They
believe Sharia should be THE law
and so they want to throw out the
government.
 (US) On Basilan, the young males,
it is there mission to convert
everyone or kill them–they are
violently missionary.
 (US) He said–he is not sympathetic
about Islam. Islamic teachings were
founded in a violently strategic
fashion, and those who regard Islam
as peaceful are grossly deceived.

144
 (US) There are those who
advocate/endorse use of violence to
spread Islam.

Table 23. Sub-themes and quotes related to Violence.

145
Theme: Extremism
Extremism Typical Quotes Rarer Quotes
Lawlessness  Only 3 occurrences  (US) Up around
Marawi that is
tough terrain. A
lot of lawless
elements.
 (US) The MNLF
and MILF, they
have rogue
elements (that are
lawless).
 (RP–Muslim) On
Basilan there are
some lawless
Tausug and
Yakan
Fundamentalists  (RP-Muslim)He said “there are “extremists-  (US) There
fundamentalists” and “mellows” who “don't are…hard-core
care.” fundamentalists:
 (RP-Muslim)Well, they are extremist, they believe that
fundamentalist. Sharia should be
 (RP-Muslim)Well you know, the foreign clerics, the law of the
they are fundamentalist. land, they believe
 (US) The more devout, the more into the Koran in a
(that they are) they tend to be more caliphate…the
fundamentalist. ones we are
fighting, you
know, Islamists
 In Southern
Basilan, it is more

146
rural and more
fundamentalist.
Islamists Only 2 occurrences in one case  (US)The more
devout, the more
into the Koran
(that they are)
they tend to be
more
fundamentalist.
You know,
Islamists. They
justify violence
by the Koran.
They believe
Sharia should be
THE law and so
they want to
throw out the
government.
 (US)There
are…hard-core
fundamentalists:
they believe that
Sharia should be
the law of the
land, they believe
in a
caliphate…the
ones we are
fighting, you
know, Islamists

147
Rogue-Renegade  (RP-Muslim) The MNLF wants peace, but  (US) And there
renegades split off, they do not want peace! are rogue
 (US) The MNLF and MILF, they have rogue preachers out in
elements (that are lawless). They are extremely the rural areas,
conservative. that is a problem
 (US) Extremists are people who behead you if for the ARMM.
you do not follow them. They are the portion But maybe not
who are renegades in the religion. organized enough
and not
necessarily
lawless.

Fanatics  (US) And these fanatics, they could become the  (US) They might
violent extremists. Because the sword, that is turn down booze
pivotal element of their religion. or drugs but they
 (US) Fanatical, those who take it to the extreme, wouldn't turn
out of context, or for profit or to make a name down a woman
for themselves. Their views are from the parts of unless they were a
the Koran about conquering true fanatic. You
 (US) So fanatics are conservative and they know, that's how
believe in Jihad. But…I think also mainstream you know they are
Muslims could support jihad…in their hearts. fucking psychos!
Chances are, they are unwittingly supporting  (RP-
jihad, because when they fail to speak out Christian)The
(against jihad) that makes them accomplices. fanatics–they
 (US) The middle ones. The silent majority they have twisted
want to worship in peace, be left alone, not you minds.
know, be converted to Christianity, they approve
of the Western way, but also understand the
fanatics, do not condemn them, they would not

148
condemn an attack on Israel. They are quiet
about their feelings about the fanatics–this is
hard to understand. They may justify the
fanatics’ actions to themselves.
 (US) But in poorer countries like Afghanistan
and here in Mindanao, they have no choice. The
power of the fanatics–it endangers the
mainstreams due to lack of security and lack of
governance.
Jihadist  (US) Muslims in the PI: don't know that (US) So if I were
much about them, seems to me it is more trying to talk up
criminal type activity than jihad, more going on a Crusade
about earning money than religious (like in the olden
commitment. But there are beheadings. days, to Jerusalem)
 (RP-Muslim) People are losing interest in people would laugh at
the militants, there is less support, less me. But if we talk
enthusiasm for jihad. They use jihad to about going on Jihad,
recruit, but the populace losing interest there are listeners out
 (RP-Muslim) Many pious of the ulema there. People actually
reject the ASG on the grounds of jihad. take it seriously, in

 (US) The fanatics, here in the PI, they are this day and age!

not so much preaching jihad or the


caliphate any more, I mean the ASG. Now
it is about criminality…
 (RP-Muslim) They (JI) still have ideology
of jihad. JI want Islam to rule everyone–
but that is un-Islamic, because the Koran
says there is no compulsion in religion.
 (RP-Muslim) But the leaders use jihad to
convince, to recruit. A lot will join for

149
religious reasons.

 (US) So fanatics are conservative and they


believe in Jihad. But…I think also
mainstream Muslims could support
jihad…in their hearts. Chances are, they
are unwittingly supporting jihad, because
when they fail to speak out (against jihad)
that makes them accomplices.
 (US) Now JI, they are still jihadist with
ties to AQ, and going abroad for stuff.
Terrorist  (US)They commit crimes to fund their terrorism, they(US) A lot of
have criminal enterprises. them are
 terrorists.
(US)...some do not believe in martyrdom, but still might do
terrorism. Those who do, some of them exist here. (US) The groups,
 (RP-Muslim)Most of teaching in madrassas is good, tothe terrorists are
learn Arabic. But some leaders went Saudi and came ASG, they
back radical. They are pretending to understand Islamcommit KFR,
and they and the young
mislead
political
generation, they use religion to convince good people…they relatedSome
recruit.
groups, and JI.
current terrorists were madrassas students. For example
they were taught “once you kill a Christian, you enter Their objectives
paradise.” are to establish
 (RP-Muslim) Some Muslims go to Catholic school the caliphate, to
govern the region,
because the quality of education is good, but the terrorists
burn down the school. Without education people to align with other
“stay dumb.” There is no progress! (local) groups
entities or factions
for tactical or
strategic ends.
Militant  (US) The populace is extremely intimidated by  (RP-Muslim)
the militants. They will seem to cooperate with People are losing

150
the AFP to get something. Some of the populace interest in the
is not intimidated but they actively support the militants, there is
militants. less support, less
 (US)In the PI, there are two kinds of extremists: enthusiasm for
the militants in the jungle, and the collaborators jihad. They use
and supporters in the community. The jihad to recruit,
community leaders, the governors, the Imams. but the populace
 (US) The majority of Muslims here will have losing interest.
sympathies to the militants, they either passively  (US) However
or actively support the extremists, except if there was a recent
money is involved. case of a
 (US) I think the militant ones, they don't like us, kidnapping of a
they are gruff and not polite, they are into power child where the
plays, there is a barrier between us. populace reported
 (US)In the PI, there are particular families that against the
are militant where for generations, fighting is militants. It was a
handed down to the kids big deal. We
hope people in
other
municipalities
will follow suit.
Radicals-  (RP-Muslim) The JI have same belief as AQ,  (RP-
Radicalizing and same strategy as the Communists. They use Muslim)Another
propaganda to generate sympathy and in the kind of Muslim is
madrassas, they teach radical, and they speak to a convert.
crowds. Converts are
 (RP-Muslim) Yes, Pakistanis, Saudis, and so MORE radical,
forth–we call them “Arabs” they are they want to
radicalizing! prove themselves
 (RP-Muslim) Most of teaching in madrassas is to be “true
good, to learn Arabic. But some leaders went believers.” They

151
Saudi and came back radical. They are are more
pretending to understand Islam and they mislead aggressive to
the younger generation, they use religion to prove “we are the
convince good people…they recruit. real ones
 (RP-Muslim) The radicals, they have their own (Muslims)”
Imams, sometimes they are foreigners.  (RP-Muslim) The
 (RP-Muslim) The radicals–can easily identify sultanate? The
them. They exclude themselves from the main radicals want it,
community, they are in the rural areas, isolated, the regular people
they isolate themselves. They are not in the city– do not.
too much complexity of thought there, they  (US)There are
avoid that, competition of ideas. genuine converts
 (RP-Muslim)The radicals want a separate state who hold the
 (RP-Muslim)So the ones called radical or pillars of Islam to
extremist Muslims are not Muslims, they are be true. They are
simply radical people. The radicals take parts of faithful, more
the Quran out of context to justify their deeds. involved,
 (RP-Muslim)The radicals, sometimes they (the enthused, excited,
men) wear the old-style clothes (traditional garb) and evangelistic.
but not always, you cannot always tell them by They will
their dress. The ladies, some wear the head embrace the way
covering and some cover the face, and they of whoever
cover their hair and arms. converted them.

 (US) The radicals, their beliefs are distorted So if a radical


converted them,
they will be
radical.

Extremist  (US) They payoff or bribe the government (the  (US) Extremists
AFP). The government “allows” the extremists are less/non
to exist and function. tolerant.

152
 (US) The community leaders, they are  (US) Extremists
hypocrites, and they are aligned with the have a power
extremists. They play both sides. You know, agenda, they use
during a CMO, they will seem friendly to us. fear to motivate
But they are doing the dirty work for the their people, they
militants for sheer greed, not religion. They are make them afraid
keeping people in fear, and they are not stopping of the “other.”
the militants. What kind of dirty work? Like  (US) The
extortion and corruption. They take government extremists: cant
money but do not benefit their people. How do I tell by looking or
know this? Because we have been here ten years by their dress.
(and it has not changed). These community They could be
leaders–they are not getting shot–because they working in the
are collaborating! They do not feel the militants store down the
are a threat. street.
 (US) Extremists capitalize on their own people's  (US) The
misfortune to carry out their intentions. extremists here in
 (US) Extremism is not about Islam, it is about the PI:
power. dissatisfaction
 (US) The extremists they distort the message of with poverty,
the Koran. identity question,
 (US) Extremists, the women dress covering the are we Filipino or
face and a long robe. The men, they grow Malay? They
beards, dress conservatively. resent the loss of
 (RP-Muslim)Of the tribes, the Tausugs would be the Sultanate,
most likely inclined to extremism, then the want a sultanate,
Yakans. The Yakans, they are a lot of leaders, not to be part of
high profile, with political power. They know the republic.
that “without guns you are nobody.”
 (RP-Muslim) So if uneducated, easily convinced  (RP-Muslim)...all
extremists in the

153
to follow extremist teachings. PI are home-
 (RP-Muslims) So the ones called radical or grown and no
extremist Muslims are not Muslims, they are foreigners
simply radical people. influence them
Table 24. Sub-themes and quotes related to Extremism.

154
Theme: “Regular” Muslims
“Regular” Typical Quotes Rarer Quotes
Muslims
Democratic-  (RP-Muslim) He, as a Muslim in the  (RP-Muslim)Yes, here women
Liberal- AFP, said he enjoys freedom of have full civil rights, it is far
Progressive religion. more liberal, this is a
 (RP-Muslim) But here in the PI we democracy.
have no oppression! Here, we have  (US)Muslim women are
freedom, it is a democracy, if we do surprisingly liberal, less
not like our leaders we can vote. reserved in their sexuality than
 (US) Non-extremists: “progressive I expected. They can be very
Muslims” like Ramir or Zuhadi Jasser. promiscuous, drink, and party.
They have mainstream thinking.
 (US) The progressive ones,
government and religion can coexist,
like in the UAE, the environment is
sort of free. There is economic and
cultural progress. Like in Qatar,
Dubai, they embrace some Western
influences.
Middle/In-  (RP-Muslim)The educated ones, they  (US) The middle ones. The
between are in the “middle” not joining the silent majority they want to
fighting with the MILF. worship in peace, be left alone,
 (RP-Muslim)There is a certain group, not you know, be converted to
educated ones (indicating himself) we Christianity, they approve of the
are the in-between ones, do not like Western way, but also
the factions. Some youth groups, as understand the fanatics, do not
college students to lend assistance, condemn them, they would not
humanitarian, to people hurt by condemn an attack on Israel.
conflicts for evacuees. They are quiet about their
feelings about the fanatics–this

155
 (US) The “in-between” Muslims are is hard to understand. They
the majority of the population, they may justify the fanatics actions
are subject to many competing to themselves.
influences. They are like you and me,
doing the best they can. Here in the PI
there is no stigma if you are a Muslim
or a Christian. They are neighbors,
they socialize, they are not segregated,
they have daily interaction.

Non-Violent-  (RP-Muslim)The MNLF wants peace  (RP-Muslim)The “mellows” are


Peaceful  (RP-Muslim)But Islam is meaning non-violent
peace, from complete submission to  (RP-Muslim)Now, the Sama
Allah are a peace-loving people.
 (US) And those who want to spread Their focus is on education.
Islam, but think there are more They are more professional
effective ways than violence. peoples who are Sama. Sama
 (US) Either Sunni or Shia can be people, they are patient people,
either violent or non-violent. not like Tausug.
 (US) The non-violent Muslims in the  (RP-Muslim) The Badjao, they
PI are in more populated areas are peace-loving, abused, they
migrate away like to Manila,
they sometimes are a problem
only for illegal dynamite
fishing. They are peace-loving
and they are afraid, afraid of
dogs and ghosts, so they go to
sea to avoid the ghosts. Some
of them have houses. People
look down on them. The
Tausug think the Samal and

156
Badjao are 2nd class citizens.

But Maybe  (US) Some of the populace is not  (RP-Christian) Never, never
they Support intimidated but they actively 100% trust them. They are
the Extremists support the militants. traitors, even if you help
 (US) But…I think also mainstream them.
Muslims could support jihad…in  (US) The middle ones. The
their hearts. Chances are, they silent majority they want to
are unwittingly supporting jihad, worship in peace, be left
because when they fail to speak alone, not you know, be
out (against jihad) that makes them converted to Christianity,
accomplices. they approve of the Western
 (US) There are sophisticated and way, but also understand
educated Muslims (e.g., the ones the fanatics, do not
in the USA) These are moderate, condemn them, they would
rational, reasonable, able to not condemn an attack on
discern that some of Islamic Israel. They are quiet about
teachings are not right, but they their feelings about the
believe the deceptive propaganda fanatics–this is hard to
that Islam is peaceful–however understand. They may
they might turn violent later–it is justify the fanatics actions
an individual choice they could to themselves.
make.  (US) The majority of
 (US) Most Muslims–you know, Muslims here will have
moderates, want peace, not sympathies to the militants,
bombings, but I think they are they either passively or
hesitant to criticize the fanatics. actively support the
extremists, except if money
is involved.

157
Muslims are  (US) So there are two kind of  (US) Muslims are similar to
like us- moderates: those who are not really Westerners: they have the
Westernized practicing but respect Islam, and the same wants, same values, they
majority who are “like us” they just pursue the same things. My best
want to raise their kids, teach their friend was an Afghan
kids in peace, be left alone and have a immigrant and he was
better future. assimilated, Americanized, he
 (US) Westernized Muslims share our drank, he went clubbing, he had
lifestyle, have houses and nice cars sex with girls. But he expected
like ours, you know…but they feel his sister to uphold traditional
like “don't tell me how to live or how Muslim standards (of
to raise my kids. They want to be left conservative behavior and
alone. They want a better future. dress, chastity).
 (US) But they are just simple people  (US) They want to live their life,
who want to care for their families and they want the American
have a better future, they have the Dream.
same values as anyone else. You  The Westernized ones, they
know, universal values. have adapted to our culture,
 (US) Here they are far less they get along/go along
conservative–they seem to pray
regularly but are more open. They are
much more Western, more modern, I
mean they use cell phones, and they
are very friendly.

Majority  They overwhelming majority of them  (RP-Muslim)Independence from


are not problem, but maybe a little bit manila–the majority of Muslims
aloof because we are alien to them. do not prefer it.
 The “in-between” Muslims are the  The majority of Muslims here
majority of the population, they are will have sympathies to the
subject to many competing influences. militants, they either passively

158
 They take religion to the extreme– or actively support the
most Muslims are not like that. extremists, except if money is
 So there are two kind of moderates: involved.
those who are not really practicing but
respect Islam, and the majority who
are “like us” they just want to raise
their kids, teach their kids in peace, be
left alone and have a better future.

Moderate  (RP-Muslim) No, you cannot tell by  (RP-Muslim) The ladies who
dress who is radical. Some radicals are mellows. They do wear the
wear t-shirts and shorts and some wear head covers.
traditional dress. It is painful for  (RP-Muslim)Mellows go to
moderates like our veterinarian and mosque on Fridays. Some are
our director ladies that they wear hijab very religious and some are less
and someone might think they are religious.
radical.  (US) Zamboanga Muslims are
more moderate than the ones I
 (US) In the PI, there are less met in Iraq.
extremists and more moderates. The  (US) I noticed at the conference
extremists here, they come from (with doctors from the ARMM),
Indonesia, like down on Tawi. they were patriotic and they
 (US) Here in the PI the moderate showed respect for the
Muslims do not wear conservative Philippine flag and country,
dress, they dress normal. they identified themselves as
 (US) The moderate Muslims are Filipinos.
normal. They have routine life, like
us, you know go to church, work, raise
the family. They don't try to convert
you to Islam.

159
 Then there is Muslim Lite. Like here
in the Philippines, they are tolerant,
less strict, more integrated with
Christians.

Normal-  (US) The mainstream Muslims, they  (US) In northern Basilan, they
Regular- are just ordinary people living like are more mainstream, they
Mainstream anybody else. don't put it on anybody, they get
 (US) Non-extremists: “progressive along with Christians.
Muslims” like Ramir or Zuhadi  (US) So fanatics are
Jasser. They have mainstream conservative and they believe in
thinking. Not so much here. Here Jihad. But…I think also
they are too tied to Indonesia. The mainstream Muslims could
old school types want Sharia law. support jihad…in their hearts.
They are conservative.
 The power of the fanatics–it
endangers the mainstreams due to
lack of security and lack of
governance.

Friendly-Nice  (RP-Muslim) Well, some bad,  (RP-Muslim) First of all we


friendly, all mixed together. Maguindanao, we are kind, we
 (US) But, here in the PI they are more love to have a big cookout to
amenable to non-Muslims celebrate and to praise God.
 (US) There is a cultural-religious link. We, we love Americans.
So the Sama people on Tawi they will  (RP-Muslim) The Maranaos,
tell you “we are peaceful.” They are they love to build mosques
friendly and open to outside (snicker) and they love to pray
influence. (mocking tone). But they are
 (US) Here they are far less not kind. They are very pious,

160
conservative–they seem to pray they always were hijab and the
regularly but are more open. They are (man-dress). They are less
much more western, more modern, I friendly to Americans.
mean they use cell phones (implying  (RP-Christian) Tell me about
in other countries they don't have), and the friendly ones? Never, never
they are very friendly. 100% trust them. They are
 (US) The regular populace is very traitors, even if you help them.
nice.  (US) The Sunni are the “nicer”
ones–at least they will try to
convert you, as opposed to just
killing you.

Table 25. Quotes and Sub-themes related to “Regular” Muslims

Theme: Religiousness

Religiousness Typical Quotes Rarer Quotes


Many  (RP-Muslim) There is only one  (RP-Muslim) Well they have the
Cultures-Only religion. same doctrine here as there
One Islam  (RP-Muslim) The tribes here have the (Saudi), maybe some Saudi
same Islam, which links them, but practices were brought here.
different cultural practices and
traditions which divides them and
causes misunderstandings. The tribes
do not mix, generally living in distinct
areas, however they are known to
intermarry upon occasion.
 (US) I think Muslims re identified by
their culture, like Indonesian, Iraqi,
Afghan, Filipino, and also by the

161
Sunni-Shia type. But I think their
beliefs are uniform across the world.

Convert  (RP-Muslim) Another kind of Muslim  (US) There are converts who
is a convert. Converts are MORE adopt Islam out of convenience,
radical, they want to prove themselves such as Phil ex pat workers
to be “true believers.” They are more over in the Middle East, or they
aggressive to prove “we are the real want to be part of the ummah,
ones (Muslims)” the community. They want to
 (US) There are genuine converts who avoid discrimination, to not pay
hold the pillars of Islam to be true. extra taxes, because
They are faithful, more involved, discrimination against non-
enthused, excited, and evangelistic. Muslims is acceptable in the
They will embrace the way of Koran.
whoever converted them. So if a
radical converted them, they will be
radical
Devout  (US) The more devout, the more into  (US) Muslims, you tell them by
the Koran (that they are) they tend to their actions....He walks the
be more fundamentalist. You know, walk, he is a devout guy, he
Islamists. They justify violence by the could have work elsewhere but
Koran. he stays here to teach and help.
 (US) With devout Muslims, there is
one result: people die.
 (US) Here in the PI, some Muslims
are devout. You are Muslim by birth.
You take being a Muslim seriously
because it relates to power. It is like a
fraternity, a social network, like the
Knights of Columbus.

162
 (US) But some are devout and I knew
one who was a virgin and very afraid
of her brother, (what would happen if
she dated or had sex.)

Sharia  (RP-Muslim) For example, in Saudi  (US) I don't think they want
Arabia, they have Sharia law, and Sharia law here.
they are very strict about how women
dress and so forth. Here Sharia has no
teeth
 (RP-Muslim) The Sharia courts, they
are only for family matters, not
criminal things.
 (US) They believe Sharia should be
THE law and so they want to throw
out the government.
 (US)The old school types want Sharia
law.
 (US) They believe in the rule of
Sharia law, from the Koran.

Convert  (US) The Sunni are the “nicer” ones–  (US) Treat you like
(verb) at least they will try to convert you, as friend/family even though you
opposed to just killing you. are Christian. Helpful, good
 (US) Their goals? To convert friends, socialize with you,
everyone to their doctrine. But this is show hospitality. It was like
not the core doctrine of Islam. this in Turkey. They said Koran
 (US) On Basilan, the young males, it or their traditions said to be
is there mission to convert everyone kind to strangers. No anger or
or kill them–they are violently hatred in their eyes. Not trying

163
missionary. to convert us.

Less Strict  (US) Some Muslims less/non  (US)The non- practicing


practicing drink/smoke, less strict, Muslims might not be a “good
believe in it but go to mosque less. Muslim” in their own mind
 (US) Like here in the Philippines, they because not observant.
are tolerant, less strict, more
integrated with Christians.
 (US) In this area, the Muslims cross
the line a lot between Muslims and
Catholics, you know they drink, they
don't always fast like they are
supposed to. They are not strict.
 (US) So there are two kind of
moderates: those who are not really
practicing but respect Islam, and the
majority who are “like us” they just
want to raise their kids, teach their
kids in peace, be left alone and have a
better future.
 (US) They pray 5 times a day–well,
some do and some don't.

Practicing  (RP-Muslim) We go to mosque on  (US) Kinds of Muslims are:


Friday. Women go in a separate room peaceful, fanatical, practicing;
 (RP-Muslim) Mellows go to mosque it depends on their cleric.
on Fridays. Some are very religious  (US) Practicing Muslims, the
and some are less religious. sincere ones just trying to do
 (US) They may pray 5 times a day, right by their religion
go to mosque.

164
 (US) Practicing Muslims: Pray 5
times a day, treat us like family,
sometimes traditional dress, very
conservative, setting an example for
children.

Conservative-  (RP-Muslim) She said her sister  (RP-Muslim)Sama “religion


Strict-Pious- “really is a Muslim” she dresses girls” who were married to
Traditional conservatively but does not wear Imams who were hajjis would
a hijab. Their grandma does not wear a niqab.
want them to wear hijab.  (RP-Muslim)However, it is
 (RP-Muslim) But the more rural, possible a woman is
the more conservative the conservative and does not wear
practice, women more wear hijab. the hijab.
 (RP-Muslim) In the PI, Muslims  (RP-Muslim)Well hijab is
are free to wear any kind of dress compulsory, compulsory! By
but more conservative women the Quran. But niqab it is
wear the hijab. optional. It is better , the niqab
 (RP-Muslim) The clerics, they  (RP-Muslim)In the old days
expect it, and it is the collective women wore the hijab but it did
consensus of the people there to not cover all the hair properly.
live more conservative lifestyle. Then Saudis, Egyptians,
In Islam, you cannot force your Libyans, they came, so now
ideas. women wear the hijab correctly
 (RP-Muslim) She said that men (made motions to demonstrate
who wear Arab style dress were complete coverage of the hair
those educated in Madrassas here, over the front of the brow, no
they are are conservative. bangs showing) Why is it
 (US) Extremists, the women dress better? It is more pious.
covering the face and a long robe.  (US) The extreme
fundamentalism–the extremely

165
The men, they grow beards, dress extreme, conservative ones are
conservatively. the Pashtuns.
 (US) So fanatics are conservative 
and they believe in Jihad
 (US) The strict ones? They are
orthodox, like orthodox Jews, you
know, with the special garb and so
forth. They pray 5 times a day.
They you know, study the Koran.
In Indonesia, I mean, they are
more religious than in the PI.
Except up by Marawi, they are
more strict up there. A lot of
women wear the full niqab up
there, especially school girls.

Table 26. Quotes and Sub-themes related to Religiousness

Theme: Drivers of Violence


Drivers of Typical Quotes Rarer Quotes
Violence s
Anti-US Only one quote  (US) The extremists, they are
about killing US citizens and
those who work for them. They
are very good at studying
patterns of behavior, they
watch who comes and goes,
sooner or later they will get the
guy that works for US.

166
Sectarian Only one quote  (US) The people on the ground
are not so concerned with who
is Sunni or Shia. We may
mistake a tribal conflict for a
sectarian conflict. It is
permeable amongst the people,
being Sunni or Shia, but not
among the imams.

Tribal/Cultural  (RP-Muslim) The mellows tend to be  (US) In the PI, there are
the Samal and Badjao. particular families that are
 (RP-Muslim) The Maranao are militant where for generations,
business people and they may fighting is handed down to the
violently protect their business kids.
interests.
 (RP-Muslim) In the 1980s, it was the
highlander Yakans vs the lowlander
Tausugs, they used to fight on
Basilan.
 (RP-Muslim) Of the tribes, the
Tausugs would be most likely
inclined to extremism, then the
Yakans.
 (US) There is a cultural-religious link.
So the Sama people on Tawi they will
tell you “we are peaceful.” They are
friendly and open to outside influence.
The Yakan (Basilan) and Tausugs are
warrior types. It is why the
government has been unable to pacify
the warrior tribes in the South. The

167
Badjaos, they just keep to
themselves.

Grievances  (RP-Muslim) On Sulu, the conflict  (RP-Muslim)And I want you to


now is more about the grievances. understand that we still
 (RP-Muslim)We hope the US helps experience racial
us strengthen the ARMM, improve discrimination on part of
governance then the armed groups Christians and the Philippine
will die down. With roads, schools, government. We feel very
basic services we can win the peace in disrespected, especially by
Mindanao Christians of Luzon and
 (RP-Muslim)If more education, stop Visayas–I hate them!
the cycle of revenge, the clan feuds,  (RP-Muslim)The Congress is
land disputes, misunderstandings. mostly Christians from Luzon,
Education would mean less their laws do not help
extremism, less fundamentalism, less Maguindanao. That is maybe
rebellion. Then with better one reason people support the
roads…markets, jobs…. MILF–the prejudice.
 (RP-Muslim)The locals, they see the  (US) In the PI the chosen
ASG as their only alternative against trauma was the Spanish
the politics. Almost all ASG members occupation. The Spanish
have criminal records and they are treated its subjects like pets,
victims of the politicians bata-bata they converted them to
system. Christianity but did not treat
 (US) Muslims in the PI: they believe them like equals, did not
in their faith, they do not believe in educate them. Later the US
their bureaucrats. They turn to the educated them. They resented
Koran for their needs. They do not Marcos. The extremists here in
believe the gov will take care of them. the PI: dissatisfaction with
poverty, identity question, are
we Philippino or Malay? They

168
resent the loss of the
Sultanate, want a sultanate, not
to be part of the republic.

Separatism  (RP-Muslim) The separatist  (RP-Muslim) The MNLF, they


politicians, they arm their own are not extremist, they just
groups and if a baranguy does not wanted separate government,
support them, they will go massacre but it was very careful to avoid
them! civilian casualties, I know this,
 (RP-Muslim)The sultanate? The my father was MNLF.
radicals want it, the regular people do
not.
 (RP-Muslim) Violent groups: JI,
MILF, MNLF, ASG. They are all
very religious. The radicals want a
separate Muslim state.
 (RP-Muslim) But some in MILF hate
the army. Some MILF want an
Islamic state.
 (RP-Christian) They are fighting, they
want independent, they want
Christians out. But Christians
...improved and developed the
province
 (RP-Christian) But the MNLF and the
MILF, they want Mindanao for
themselves. They are trying–they
want this peace process–they want
Zamboanga! We voted no locally, we
did not want Zambo to be part of
ARMM.

169
 (US)They are really insurgents now,
they want their own society and laws
here.
 (US) The Wahhabis down there, and
in Saudi Arabia, they are at war with
the US, the Great Satan. The groups
in the PI are the JI, the ASG, there are
Wahabbist clerics, there is the MNLF,
the MILF. They are violent
separatist groups, supposedly
negotiating for peace but they are
really negotiating deceptively to gain
advantage. They want the benefits of
being part of the PI without the
responsibility. They want an Islamic
state (all the group do).

Islam inherently  (US)And these fanatics, they could  (US) Islam is not peaceful.
violent become the violent extremists. Mohammed married a six year
Because the sword, that is pivotal old girl and consummated it
element of their religion. when she was only 9
 (US) If I were trying to talk up going Mohammed was genocidal He
on a Crusade (like in the olden days, changed his prophetic visions at
to Jerusalem) people would laugh at every turn He went to
me. But if we talk about going on Jerusalem in a strategic move
Jihad, there are listeners out there. to incorporate other religious
People actually take it seriously, in beliefs The spirit of the anti-
this day and age! Christ is manifest in Islam
 (US) Muslims will do what God tells
them to do, good or bad.

170
 (US) Islam has “not figured it out”
in terms of morality. Just look at the
things they do to their children!
(referring to treatment of children in
Afghanistan)
 (US) Islamic teachings were founded
in a violently strategic fashion, and
those who regard Islam as peaceful are
grossly deceived.

Power struggles  (RP-Muslim) The Yakans, they are a  (US) The people I think are
lot of leaders, high profile, with split as to whether they
political power. They know that support Kato and BIFF. I
“without guns you are nobody.” think the motivation of Kato
 (RP-Muslim)The separatist is political, not religious. It
politicians, they arm their own is not about ideology. The
groups and if a baranguy does not split with MILF, it is
support them, they will go massacre political.
them!  (US) Extremists have a
 (RP-Christian)When the money goes power agenda, they use fear
to them, they want power--they do not to motivate their people,
use the money for development, they they make them afraid of the
enrich themselves. “other.”
 (RP-Christian) They who did that  (US) You take being a
massacre, (it was over an election) Muslim seriously because it
they are very rich. The government– relates to power. It is like a
there are guns and goons! Everybody fraternity, a social network,
has goons! like the Knights of
 (RP-Christian) Well, there is bad Columbus.
governance. When candidates lose an

171
election, the candidates and followers
reject the winners, disagree and fight
the new government.

Money  (RP-Muslim) KFR is a business.  (US) Remember the PI culture


 (RP-Muslim) The ASG guys, 95% are is about the haves vs the have
in the group because of their nots.
situation, they do not believe in jihad.  (US) They are poor and they
 (RP-Christian) They are doing want escape, to either die for
crimes, smuggling, drugs, gun the cause and get virgins, or to
running, and ASG, they are doing get some money.
KFR. It is all about money.  (US) Extremists take advantage
 (RP-Christian) The sitting of poverty (how insurgencies
government, there is lots of abuse, are fueled) and they motivate
corruption, they have body guards, people with money to work for
they can do anything. If you cross them or they take care of their
them, they can just kill you, they families.
control everything. Like the internal
revenue allotment money–politicians
take it and they do not get punished.
 (RP-Christian) When the money goes
to them, they want power--they do not
use the money for development, they
enrich themselves.
 (US) They do KFR to make a living.

Islam Distorted  (RP-Muslim) Well you know, the  (RP-Muslim) A true Muslim
foreign clerics, they are has a pure heart and submits to

172
fundamentalist. You know of course the will of Allah and respects
that real jihad means struggle life. So those who commit
against oppression. crimes and are called in reports
 (RP-Muslim) So the ones called “Muslim” this is very painful
radical or extremist Muslims are not and heartbreaking and we hate
Muslims, they are simply radical the Christians for it.
people. The radicals take parts of the  (US) They say “Inshallah” so
Quran out of context to justify their when bad things happen, it is
deeds. the will of God. If they leave
 (RP-Muslim) There is only one Islam; and IED and people get hurt,
we condemn violence, the un-Islamic like children or other Muslims,
activities like kidnapping for ransom, they just say Inshallah.
bombings, hurting children. KFR is a 
business. They justify it by their
interpretations of the Koran.
 (US) The fringe: they are hard core,
they interpret the Koran to justify
anything.
 (US) The radicals, their beliefs are
distorted
 (US) The “extreme versions” they
violate the tenets of Islam, they
commit violence on innocent people
on behalf of their religion.
 (US) The extremists they distort the
message of the Koran.

People are  (RP-Muslim) But due to lack of  (RP-Muslim) The twisted mind–
misled education, those who are not educated, it is easily persuaded, they are
want the meaning of the Holy Koran uneducated and illiterate.

173
simplified. The illiterate ones, they  (US) They do recruit in the
cannot understand the Koran. It is mosques and colleges. Yeah,
hard even for me to understand. So if especially the colleges, young
uneducated, easily convinced to impressionable ones there.
follow extremist teachings. Clerics  (US) In Iraq, people are killing
can influence people they can be very for religion, there were
charismatic and convincing. hundreds of suicide bombers
 (RP-Muslim) So they follow what he because: they are not educated,
says. They are easily led, easy to they are group thinking, they
influence by the MILF leaders. are poor and they want escape,
 (RP-Muslim) They are pretending to to either die for the cause and
understand Islam and they mislead the get virgins, or to get some
younger generation, they use religion money. They are ignorant.
to convince good people…they recruit. They are drugged by religious
 (US) Muslims in the PI–they are motivation. It is cult-like.
unsophisticated, poorly educated, and
good targets for Saudi missionaries
(and they are radical, violent,
deceptive)
 (US) See, most Muslims don't really
read the Koran so they go with what
people say is the norm.
Defensive Only two quotes  (RP-Muslim) The Tausug–they
are fierce, they fought for
survival, they are allowed in
Islam to defend themselves.
 Men: they fight, they protect
their area–both Yakans and
Tausugs.
Revenge Only two quotes  (RP-Muslim) If more education,

174
stop the cycle of revenge, the
clan feuds, land disputes,
misunderstandings.
 (RP-Christian)If somebody gets
hurt, it is the AFP fault no
matter what. They will then
come and fight you (for
revenge) no matter what.

Table 27. Sub-themes and quotes related to Drivers of Violence

175
Appendix 7. Phase II Questionnaire

Questionnaire for Ms. Dunham-Scott’s Doctoral Studies on Beliefs about Muslims


in the Philippines

No names please, your participation is anonymous! Please circle the applicable


information:

Member of: US Army US Navy US Air Force US Marine Corps AFP


PNP ARMM
Position: Officer Enlisted Civilian
Citizen of: US Philippines
Gender: Male Female
Highest Education: Primary School High School College
Graduate School
Location: Zamboanga Basilan Jolo Tawi Tawi
Cotabato
Religion: Muslim Christian Jewish Other
None
Tribe (if applicable): Sama Tausug Yakan Badjao Maguindanao Maranao Other
(specify):

Please circle “Agree” or “Disagree” for each item:


1. Agree Disagree: Muslims here see themselves as Sunni or Shia first, then as a tribe
member.
2. Agree Disagree: The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is fighting to establish
an Islamic sultanate here in the Philippines.
3. Agree Disagree: Violence and crimes against civilians are committed by lawless
renegades, not the real Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) or Moro National
Liberation Front (MNLF).

176
4. Agree Disagree: Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) are foreigners who want to establish
a new Islamic Caliphate by violent jihad.
5. Agree Disagree: Foreign clerics are introducing radical ideas in madrassas and
mosques here.
6. Agree Disagree: The MNLF is not an extremist group, they are struggling lawfully
against oppression for Muslim self-determination and justice.
7. Agree Disagree: People join militant groups here mostly because of radical
religious beliefs.
8. Agree Disagree: People here join militant groups mostly because they need money
and can’t find work.
9. Agree Disagree: People who live in rural areas are less likely to be fundamentalists.
10. Agree Disagree: Muslims here think the central government does not care
about them and looks down on them
11. Agree Disagree: In the Philippines, most Muslims are Shia and a few are
Sunni.
12. Agree Disagree: The majority of Muslims here believe in democracy, civil
rights and equality for all.
13. Agree Disagree: Many Muslims in the Philippines want to see a Sultanate restored
to Mindanao.
14. Agree Disagree: People believe that officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim
Mindanao get a lot of money but do little to benefit Muslim communities.
15. Agree Disagree: The majority of Muslims in the Philippines are peaceful
and friendly.
16. Agree Disagree: There is no such thing as an Islamic terrorist because real
Islam is completely peaceful
17. Agree Disagree: In the Philippines, conflict is simply part of the culture—it
is not really about religion
18. Agree Disagree: Extremists distort the teachings of Islam to justify their
violence against innocent people
19. Agree Disagree: Truly devout Muslims would prefer to have Sharia (Islamic
law) as the law of the land.

177
20. Agree Disagree: Women who are modern and progressive Muslims never
wear the hijab (head covering).
21. Agree Disagree: Most Muslims are just regular people who want to care for
their families and have a better future; they have the same values as Christians.
22. Agree Disagree: People here are easily influenced by charismatic extremists
to support or join militant groups because they are uneducated.
23. Agree Disagree: Most Muslims want peace, not bombings, but they are
afraid to criticize the fanatics.
24. Agree Disagree: Christians and Muslims in general get along very well in
the ARMM.
25. Agree Disagree: Muslims do not speak out against the violence because they
sometimes agree with the extremists’ goals
26. Agree Disagree: Violence here is not really about religious extremism, it is
mostly about money and power.
27. Agree Disagree: Most Muslims here do not support the MNLF.
28. Agree Disagree: Most Muslims here do support the MILF.
29. Agree Disagree: Most people here think that Abu Sayyaf members are just
criminals and thugs
30. Agree Disagree: Women here who wear the burqa (full covering) are
probably fundamentalists.
31. Agree Disagree: Hijab (scarf) and long, loose clothing is considered
mandatory for Muslim women
32. Agree Disagree: Only foreign men wear the traditional Arab-style dress here
in the Philippines.
33. Agree Disagree: There are as many kinds of Islam here as there are tribes
34. Agree Disagree: Members of the Maranao tribe are more strict about Islam
and more likely to wear traditional dress and hijab or niqab (head or full face coverings).
35. Agree Disagree: Support for the MILF flows from the Maguindanao tribe.
36. Agree Disagree: The Badjao people are looked down on by other tribes who
think they are un-Islamic in some ways.
37. Agree Disagree: The Tausug tribe is known for being very war-like

178
38. Agree Disagree: The Yakan tribe is known for being very peaceful.
39. Agree Disagree: The Sama and Badjao people are traditionally very fierce
and violent Muslims.

179
Appendix 8. JSOTF-P and Muslim Consensus Tables

JSOTF-P Muslims
Question (0= Disagree, 1 = Agree)
Consensus Consensus
Muslims here see themselves as Sunni or Shia first, then as a tribe
member. 0 1
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is fighting to establish an
Islamic sultanate 1 0
Violence and crimes against civilians are committed by lawless
renegades, not the real Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) or Moro
National Liberation Front (MNLF). 0 1
Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) are foreigners who want to establish a new
Islamic Caliphate by violent jihad. 1 0
Foreign clerics are introducing radical ideas in madrassas and mosques
here. 1 0
The MNLF is not an extremist group, they are struggling lawfully
against oppression for Muslim self-determination and justice. 0 1
Many Muslims in the Philippines want to see a Sultanate restored to
Mindanao. 1 0
There is no such thing as an Islamic terrorist because real Islam is
completely peaceful 0 1
People here are easily influenced by charismatic extremists to support
or join militant groups because they are uneducated. 1 0
Muslims do not speak out against the violence because they
sometimes agree with the extremists’ goals 1 0
Hijab (scarf) and long, loose clothing is considered mandatory for
Muslim women 0 1
There are as many kinds of Islam here as there are tribes 1 0

180
The Tausug tribe is known for being very war-like 1 0
The Yakan tribe is known for being very peaceful. 1 0

Table 28. JSOTF-P and Muslims disagreed on 14 of 39 questions.

181
Questions JSOTF-P Muslims Questions JSOTF-P Muslims
Women who are
People join militant modern and
groups here mostly progressive Muslims
because of radical never wear the hijab
religious beliefs. 0 0 (head covering). 0 0
Most Muslims are
just regular people
People here join who want to care for
militant groups mostly their families and
because they need have a better future;
money and can’t find they have the same
work. 1 1 values as Christians. 1 1
People who live in Most Muslims want
rural areas are less peace, not bombings,
likely to be but they are afraid to
fundamentalists. 0 0 criticize the fanatics. 1 1
Muslims here think
the central government Christians and
does not care about Muslims in general
them and looks down get along very well in
on them 1 1 the ARMM. 1 1

182
Violence here is not
really about religious
In the Philippines, extremism, it is
most Muslims are Shia mostly about money
and a few are Sunni. 0 0 and power. 1 1
The majority of
Muslims here believe
in democracy, civil Most Muslims here
rights and equality for do not support the
all. 1 1 MNLF. 0 0
People believe that
officials of the
Autonomous Region
in Muslim Mindanao
get a lot of money but
do little to benefit Most Muslims here
Muslim communities. 1 1 do support the MILF. 0 0
The majority of Most people here
Muslims in the think that Abu Sayyaf
Philippines are members are just
peaceful and friendly. 1 1 criminals and thugs 1 1
In the Philippines, Women here who
conflict is simply part wear the burqa (full
of the culture—it is covering) are
not really about probably
religion 1 1 fundamentalists. 0 0
Extremists distort the
teachings of Islam to Only foreign men
justify their violence wear the traditional
against innocent Arab-style dress here
people 1 1 in the Philippines. 0 0

183
Members of the
Maranao tribe are
more strict about
The Sama and Badjao Islam and more likely
people are to wear traditional
traditionally very dress and hijab or
fierce and violent niqab (head or full
Muslims. 0 0 face coverings). 1 1
Truly devout
Muslims would prefer
Support for the MILF to have Sharia
flows from the (Islamic law) as the
Maguindanao tribe. 1 1 law of the land. 1 1
The Badjao people are
looked down on by
other tribes who think
they are un-Islamic in
some ways. 1 1
Table 29. JSOTF-P and Muslims shared consensus on 25 of 39 items.

184
Appendix 9. PCA Tables

Question Muslims Factor Factor Factor Factor JSOTF-P Muslim RP Christian


number n=79 prefer 1 2 3 4 Consensus Consensus Majority
loadings > Answers Answers Answers
0.65

1 Question 1 0.5006 0.5369 0.0276 - Muslims here see themselves as Sunni 0 1 0


0.2987 or Shia first, then as a tribe member.

2 Question 2 0.2187 0.5045 - - The Moro Islamic Liberation Front 1 0 0


0.2625 0.6857 (MILF) is fighting to establish an
Islamic sultanate here in the
Philippines.

3 Question 3 0.8232 0.1944 - - Violence and crimes against civilians 0 1 1


0.2191 0.0642 are committed by lawless renegades,
not the real Moro Islamic Liberation
Front (MILF) or Moro National
Liberation Front (MNLF).

4 Question 4 0.3702 0.4806 - - Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) are foreigners 1 0 1


0.4686 0.0137 who want to establish a new Islamic
Caliphate by violent jihad.

5 Question 5 0.2578 0.8010 - - Foreign clerics are introducing radical 1 0 1


0.0236 0.2004 ideas in madrassas and mosques here.

6 Question 6 0.8371 0.1554 - - The MNLF is not an extremist group, 0 1 1


0.1773 0.2524 they are struggling lawfully against
oppression for Muslim self-
determination and justice.

7 Question 7 0.2266 0.6709 - - People join militant groups here 0 0 0


0.2293 0.3572 mostly because of radical religious
beliefs.

185
8 Question 8 0.5099 0.4789 - - People here join militant groups 1 1 1
0.3762 0.0696 mostly because they need money and
can’t find work.

9 Question 9 0.3776 0.6157 - - People who live in rural areas are less 0 0 1
0.1328 0.2851 likely to be fundamentalists.

10 Question 10 0.6915 0.2298 - - Muslims here think the central 1 1 1


0.2063 0.3250 government does not care about them
and looks down on them

11 Question 11 - 0.8067 - - In the Philippines, most Muslims are 0 0 0


0.0215 0.2652 0.2619 Shia and a few are Sunni.

12 Question 12 0.8190 0.2373 - - The majority of Muslims here believe 1 1 1


0.1380 0.0831 in democracy, civil rights and equality
for all.

13 Question 13 0.4028 0.4276 - - Many Muslims in the Philippines 1 0 1


0.3082 0.4322 want to see a Sultanate restored to
Mindanao.

14 Question 14 0.8157 0.1302 - - People believe that officials of the 1 1 1


0.3997 0.0591 Autonomous Region in Muslim
Mindanao get a lot of money but do
little to benefit Muslim communities.

15 Question 15 0.9451 0.1054 - - The majority of Muslims in the 1 1 1


0.1497 0.1267 Philippines are peaceful and friendly.

16 Question 16 0.9223 0.1245 - - There is no such thing as an Islamic 0 1 1


0.1580 0.1035 terrorist because real Islam is
completely peaceful

186
17 Question 17 0.7810 0.2907 - - In the Philippines, conflict is simply 1 1 1
0.2144 0.0598 part of the culture—it is not really
about religion

18 Question 18 0.6875 0.1804 - - Extremists distort the teachings of 1 1 1


0.4506 0.1635 Islam to justify their violence against
innocent people

19 Question 19 0.8773 0.2584 - - Truly devout Muslims would prefer to 1 1 1


0.0156 0.0322 have Sharia (Islamic law) as the law
of the land.

20 Question 20 0.1583 0.6155 - - Women who are modern and 0 0 1


0.5804 0.2002 progressive Muslims never wear the
hijab (head covering).

21 Question 21 0.8588 0.2141 - - Most Muslims are just regular people 1 1 1


0.2430 0.0509 who want to care for their families
and have a better future; they have the
same values as Christians.

22 Question 22 0.4095 0.4556 - - Most Muslims are just regular people 1 0 1


0.6021 0.0639 who want to care for their families
and have a better future; they have the
same values as Christians.

23 Question 23 0.8663 0.1686 - - Most Muslims want peace, not 1 1 1


0.1962 0.1225 bombings, but they are afraid to
criticize the fanatics.

24 Question 24 0.8365 0.2008 - - Christians and Muslims in general get 1 1 1


0.1572 0.1592 along very well in the ARMM.

25 Question 25 0.1568 0.7618 - - Muslims do not speak out against the 1 0 1


0.3482 0.0312 violence because they sometimes
agree with the extremists’ goals

187
26 Question 26 0.8038 0.2110 - - Violence here is not really about 1 1 1
0.1758 0.1442 religious extremism, it is mostly about
money and power.

27 Question 27 0.3631 0.6853 - 0.1953 Most Muslims here do not support the 0 0 0
0.3420 MNLF.

28 Question 28 0.3010 0.6093 - - Most Muslims here do support the 0 0 1


0.1532 0.3398 MILF.

29 Question 29 0.7786 0.1895 - - Most people here think that Abu 1 1 1


0.3182 0.2148 Sayyaf members are just criminals
and thugs

30 Question 30 0.3262 0.8174 0.0260 0.0776 Women here who wear the burqa (full 0 0 0
covering) are probably
fundamentalists.

31 Question 31 0.8223 0.2816 0.1108 - Hijab (scarf) and long, loose clothing 0 1 1
0.0994 is considered mandatory for Muslim
women

32 Question 32 0.1535 0.7902 - - Only foreign men wear the traditional 0 0 0


0.1354 0.1505 Arab-style dress here in the
Philippines.

33 Question 33 0.3659 0.5074 - - There are as many kinds of Islam here 1 0 1


0.1195 0.5985 as there are tribes

34 Question 34 0.6731 0.3804 - - Members of the Maranao tribe are 1 1 0


0.0898 0.1623 more strict about Islam and more
likely to wear traditional dress and
hijab or niqab (head or full face
coverings).

188
35 Question 35 0.5648 0.2544 - - Support for the MILF flows from the 1 1 1
0.5063 0.2556 Maguindanao tribe.

36 Question 36 0.4318 0.3141 - - The Badjao people are looked down 1 1 1


0.5943 0.2641 on by other tribes who think they are
un-Islamic in some ways.

37 Question 37 0.3315 0.4449 - - The Tausug tribe is known for being 1 0 1


0.4319 0.4834 very war-like

38 Question 38 0.3613 0.3477 - - The Yakan tribe is known for being 1 0 1


0.5509 0.3706 very peaceful.

39 Question 39 0.0024 0.7323 - - The Sama and Badjao people are 0 0 0


0.4409 0.3379 traditionally very fierce and violent
Muslims.

Table 30. Varimax Rotated Factor Loadings, Muslim Respondents, n=79

189
JSOTFP 
n=31 
prefer  RP   RP 
factor  JSOTF‐P  Muslims  Christian 
loadings >  Factor  Factor  Factor  Consensus  Consensus  Majority 
0.8  1  2  3     Answers  Answers  Answers 

Question  Muslims here see themselves as Sunni or 
1  0.21  ‐0.779  ‐0.133  Shia first, then as a tribe member.  0  1 0
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front 
(MILF) is fighting to establish an 
Question  Islamic sultanate here in the 
2  0.626  ‐0.342  ‐0.3  Philippines.  1  0 0
Violence and crimes against civilians 
are committed by lawless renegades, 
not the real Moro Islamic Liberation 
Question  Front (MILF) or Moro National 
3  0.147  ‐0.707  ‐0.438  Liberation Front (MNLF).   0  1 1
Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) are foreigners 
Question  who want to establish a new Islamic 
4  0.819  ‐0.154  ‐0.335  Caliphate by violent jihad.  1  0 1
Foreign clerics are introducing radical 
Question  ideas in madrassas and mosques 
5  0.524  ‐0.406  ‐0.365  here.  1  0 1
The MNLF is not an extremist group, 
they are struggling lawfully against 
Question  oppression for Muslim self‐
6  0.176  ‐0.583  ‐0.547  determination and justice.  0  1 1
People join militant groups here 
Question  mostly because of radical religious 
7  0.013  ‐0.885  ‐0.131  beliefs.  0  0 0
People here join militant groups 
Question  mostly because they need money and 
8  0.836  ‐0.076  ‐0.33  can’t find work.  1  1 1

Question  People who live in rural areas are less 
9  0.299  ‐0.667  ‐0.145  likely to be fundamentalists.  0  0 1
Muslims here think the central 
Question  government does not care about 
10  0.82  ‐0.258  ‐0.108  them and looks down on them  1  1 1

Question  In the Philippines, most Muslims are 
11  0.345  ‐0.648  ‐0.262  Shia and a few are Sunni.  0  0 0

Question  The majority of Muslims here believe 
12  0.446  ‐0.417  ‐0.444  in democracy, civil rights and equality  1  1 1

190
for all. 

Many Muslims in the Philippines want 
Question  to see a Sultanate restored to 
13  0.687  ‐0.495  0.04  Mindanao.  1  0 1
People believe that officials of the 
Autonomous Region in Muslim 
Question  Mindanao get a lot of money but do 
14  0.829  ‐0.206  ‐0.228  little to benefit Muslim communities.  1  1 1

Question  The majority of Muslims in the 
15  0.946  ‐0.082  ‐0.165  Philippines are peaceful and friendly.  1  1 1
There is no such thing as an Islamic 
Question  terrorist because real Islam is 
16  0.045  ‐0.811  ‐0.345  completely peaceful  0  1 1
In the Philippines, conflict is simply 
Question  part of the culture—it is not really 
17  0.51  ‐0.385  ‐0.271  about religion  1  1 1
Extremists distort the teachings of 
Question  Islam to justify their violence against 
18  0.906  ‐0.084  ‐0.252  innocent people   1  1 1
Truly devout Muslims would prefer to 
Question  have Sharia (Islamic law) as the law of 
19  0.735  ‐0.299  ‐0.176  the land.  1  1 1
Women who are modern and 
Question  progressive Muslims never wear the 
20  ‐0.043  ‐0.811  ‐0.418  hijab (head covering).  0  0 1
Most Muslims are just regular people 
who want to care for their families 
Question  and have a better future; they have 
21  0.816  ‐0.142  ‐0.224  the same values as Christians.  1  1 1
Most Muslims are just regular people 
who want to care for their families 
Question  and have a better future; they have 
22  0.661  ‐0.205  ‐0.436  the same values as Christians.  1  0 1
Most Muslims want peace, not 
Question  bombings, but they are afraid to 
23  0.919  ‐0.145  ‐0.113  criticize the fanatics.  1  1 1

Question  Christians and Muslims in general get 
24  0.595  ‐0.355  ‐0.324  along very well in the ARMM.  1  1 1
Muslims do not speak out against the 
Question  violence because they sometimes 
25  0.881  ‐0.282  0.004  agree with the extremists’ goals   1  0 1

191
Violence here is not really about 
Question  religious extremism, it is mostly 
26  0.769  ‐0.075  ‐0.476  about money and power.  1  1 1
Most Muslims here do not support 
Question 
the MNLF. 
27  0.298  ‐0.841  0.159  0  0 0

Question  Most Muslims here do support the 
28  0.303  ‐0.31  ‐0.711  MILF.  0  0 1
Most people here think that Abu 
Question  Sayyaf members are just criminals 
29  0.827  ‐0.218  ‐0.099  and thugs  1  1 1
Women here who wear the burqa 
Question  (full covering) are probably 
30  0.255  ‐0.749  ‐0.157  fundamentalists.  0  0 0
Hijab (scarf) and long, loose clothing 
Question  is considered mandatory for Muslim 
31  0.446  ‐0.562  ‐0.19  women  0  1 1
Only foreign men wear the traditional 
Question  Arab‐style dress here in the 
32  0.373  ‐0.695  ‐0.054  Philippines.  0  0 0

Question  There are as many kinds of Islam here 
33  0.514  ‐0.316  ‐0.4  as there are tribes   1  0 1
Members of the Maranao tribe are 
more strict about Islam and more 
likely to wear traditional dress and 
Question  hijab or niqab (head or full face 
34  0.61  ‐0.428  ‐0.205  coverings).  1  1 0

Question  Support for the MILF flows from the 
35  0.767  ‐0.3  ‐0.189  Maguindanao tribe.  1  1 1
The Badjao people are looked down 
Question  on by other tribes who think they are 
36  0.745  ‐0.396  0.05  un‐Islamic in some ways.  1  1 1

Question  The Tausug tribe is known for being 
37  0.54  ‐0.256  ‐0.649  very war‐like  1  0 1

Question  The Yakan tribe is known for being 
38  0.421  ‐0.534  ‐0.275  very peaceful.  1  0 1
The Sama and Badjao people are 
Question  traditionally very fierce and violent 
39  0.318  ‐0.452  ‐0.597  Muslims.  0  0 0
Table 31. Varimax Rotated Factor Loadings, JSOTF-P Respondents, n=31

192
RP 
 Christians  JSOTF‐P  Muslims 
n=46 prefer  Only  Only  RP 
loadings  Answer  Aswer  Christian 
>0.75  Factor 1  Factor 2  Factor 3  Question  Key  Key  Majority 
Muslims here see themselves as Sunni or 
Question 1  0.54  ‐0.61  ‐0.10 Shia first, then as a tribe member.  0 1 1
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front 
(MILF) is fighting to establish an 
Islamic sultanate here in the 
Question 2  0.33  ‐0.62  ‐0.20 Philippines.  1 0 0
Violence and crimes against civilians 
are committed by lawless renegades, 
not the real Moro Islamic Liberation 
Front (MILF) or Moro National 
Question 3  0.14  ‐0.54  ‐0.61 Liberation Front (MNLF).   0 1 1
Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) are foreigners 
who want to establish a new Islamic 
Question 4  0.46  ‐0.44  ‐0.37 Caliphate by violent jihad.  1 0 0
Foreign clerics are introducing radical 
ideas in madrassas and mosques 
Question 5  0.71  ‐0.41  ‐0.25 here.  1 0 0
The MNLF is not an extremist group, 
they are struggling lawfully against 
oppression for Muslim self‐
Question 6  0.11  ‐0.58  ‐0.57 determination and justice.  0 1 1
People join militant groups here 
mostly because of radical religious 
Question 7  0.47  ‐0.69  ‐0.09 beliefs.  0 0 0
People here join militant groups 
mostly because they need money and 
Question 8  0.67  ‐0.39  ‐0.26 can’t find work.  1 1 1
People who live in rural areas are less 
Question 9  0.59  ‐0.40  ‐0.34 likely to be fundamentalists.  0 0 0
Muslims here think the central 
government does not care about 
Question 10  0.56  ‐0.47  ‐0.39 them and looks down on them  1 1 1
In the Philippines, most Muslims are 
Question 11  0.32  ‐0.66  ‐0.25 Shia and a few are Sunni.  0 0 0
The majority of Muslims here believe 
in democracy, civil rights and equality 
Question 12  0.45  ‐0.17  ‐0.79 for all.  1 1 1

193
Many Muslims in the Philippines want 
to see a Sultanate restored to 
Question 13  0.47  ‐0.54  ‐0.17 Mindanao.  1 0 0
People believe that officials of the 
Autonomous Region in Muslim 
Mindanao get a lot of money but do 
Question 14  0.76  ‐0.18  ‐0.51 little to benefit Muslim communities.  1 1 1
The majority of Muslims in the 
Question 15  0.29  ‐0.28  ‐0.77 Philippines are peaceful and friendly.  1 1 1
There is no such thing as an Islamic 
terrorist because real Islam is 
Question 16  0.42  ‐0.26  ‐0.78 completely peaceful  0 1 1
In the Philippines, conflict is simply 
part of the culture—it is not really 
Question 17  0.55  ‐0.30  ‐0.51 about religion  1 1 1
Extremists distort the teachings of 
Islam to justify their violence against 
Question 18  0.79  ‐0.16  ‐0.41 innocent people   1 1 1
Truly devout Muslims would prefer to 
have Sharia (Islamic law) as the law of 
Question 19  0.54  ‐0.41  ‐0.44 the land.  1 1 1
Women who are modern and 
progressive Muslims never wear the 
Question 20  0.72  ‐0.33  ‐0.29 hijab (head covering).  0 0 0
Most Muslims are just regular people 
who want to care for their families 
and have a better future; they have 
Question 21  0.63  ‐0.14  ‐0.68 the same values as Christians.  1 1 1
Most Muslims are just regular people 
who want to care for their families 
and have a better future; they have 
Question 22  0.78  ‐0.38  ‐0.13 the same values as Christians.  1 0 0
Most Muslims want peace, not 
bombings, but they are afraid to 
Question 23  0.61  ‐0.20  ‐0.69 criticize the fanatics.  1 1 1
Christians and Muslims in general get 
Question 24  0.29  ‐0.37  ‐0.73 along very well in the ARMM.  1 1 1
Muslims do not speak out against the 
violence because they sometimes 
Question 25  0.67  ‐0.54  ‐0.13 agree with the extremists’ goals   1 0 0
Violence here is not really about 
religious extremism, it is mostly about 
Question 26  0.72  ‐0.23  ‐0.51 money and power.  1 1 1

194
Most Muslims here do not support 
Question 27  0.09  ‐0.67  ‐0.45 the MNLF.  0    0
Most Muslims here do support the 
Question 28  0.58  ‐0.43  ‐0.24 MILF.  0 0 0
Most people here think that Abu 
Sayyaf members are just criminals 
Question 29  0.70  ‐0.20  ‐0.52 and thugs  1 1 1
Women here who wear the burqa 
(full covering) are probably 
Question 30  0.20  ‐0.77  ‐0.23 fundamentalists.  0    0
Hijab (scarf) and long, loose clothing 
is considered mandatory for Muslim 
Question 31  0.51  ‐0.45  ‐0.41 women  0 1 1
Only foreign men wear the traditional 
Arab‐style dress here in the 
Question 32  0.11  ‐0.74  ‐0.37 Philippines.  0 0 0
There are as many kinds of Islam here 
Question 33  0.71  ‐0.28  ‐0.41 as there are tribes   1 0 0
Members of the Maranao tribe are 
more strict about Islam and more 
likely to wear traditional dress and 
hijab or niqab (head or full face 
Question 34  0.39  ‐0.70  ‐0.10 coverings).  1 1 1
Support for the MILF flows from the 
Question 35  0.58  ‐0.40  ‐0.34 Maguindanao tribe.  1 1 1
The Badjao people are looked down 
on by other tribes who think they are 
Question 36  0.85  ‐0.24  ‐0.36 un‐Islamic in some ways.  1 1 1
The Tausug tribe is known for being 
Question 37  0.80  ‐0.38  ‐0.23 very war‐like  1 0 0
The Yakan tribe is known for being 
Question 38  0.39  ‐0.42  ‐0.49 very peaceful.  1 0 0
The Sama and Badjao people are 
traditionally very fierce and violent 
Question 39  0.37  ‐0.67  ‐0.23 Muslims.  0 0 0
Table 32. Varimax Rotated Factor Loadings, RP Christian Respondents, n=31

195
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